TransUnion Research Quantifies How Social Distancing is Changing Shopping Patterns

CHICAGO, March 24, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) today released new research that quantifies the spike in digital commerce since social distancing became widespread globally. The company found a 23% increase in e-commerce transactions in the week following the World Health Organization declaring the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on March 11th compared to the average weekly volume in 2020.
“It is clear that social distancing has changed consumer shopping behaviors globally and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future,” said Greg Pierson, senior vice president of business planning and development at TransUnion. “No doubt fraudsters will continue to follow the trends of good consumers and adjust their schemes accordingly.”In a recent survey of 1068 Americans 18 and older, TransUnion found 22% have been targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19. TransUnion’s findings come as it releases its Global E-commerce in 2020 report. In the report, TransUnion Global Fraud & Identity Solutions reported a 347% increase in account takeover and 391% rise in shipping fraud attempts globally against its online retail customers from 2018 to 2019.“With so many reported data breaches, it’s not just about if your account will be hijacked, it’s about when,” said Melissa Gaddis, senior director of customer success for TransUnion Fraud & Identity Solutions. “Once a fraudster breaks into an account, they have access to everything imaginable resulting in stolen credit card numbers and reward points, fraudulent purchases, and redirecting shipments to other addresses.”Typical methods used to take over an account include buying login details on the dark web, credential stuffing, hacking, phishing, romance scams and social engineering. Shipping fraud is when criminals take over a customer account but don’t change the shipping address in order to avoid detection. Once the package has shipped, they intercept it at the carrier site and change the shipping address.Besides account takeover and shipping fraud, TransUnion revealed other significant e-commerce fraud and transaction trends:42% decrease in promotion abuse from 2018 to 2019. Cybercriminals access accounts to drain loyalty points or create multiple new accounts to use the same promotion over and over, often against website and app terms. TransUnion believes this decrease can be attributed to fraudsters turning to more lucrative schemes such as account takeover.
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