2019 True Cost of Fraud Report

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2019 True Cost of Fraud Report
The True Cost of Fraud report gives merchants a glimpse into what fraud they are currently facing.

The LexisNexis yearly True Cost of Fraud report was just released. This report gives merchants insights into the most current fraud trends in the US. By taking a look at what channels and industries are facing specific fraud problems, merchants can take action heading into the 2020 year and solidify a fraud strategy. In this post, we will go over the key findings of the report we found most important for merchants.

The Basics

The True Cost of Fraud report studied 700 US risk and fraud executives in retail and ecommerce businesses. The report included a mix of merchant sizes, good types, and payment channels. In this study, fraud is described as a fraudulent and/or unauthorized purchase (true fraud) and a fraudulent request for refund/return (chargeback fraud and friendly fraud).

The current cost of fraud for merchants in 2019 is $3.13 for every dollar fraud. This was a 6.5% increase from 2018 when the cost of fraud was $2.94. The fraud cost is made up of dispute costs, fees, merchandise redistribution, labor, legal prosecution, and IT/software security.

Mobile Fraud Trends

Mobile shopping is expected and used by most consumers. This is a trend that has customer demand, but it makes merchants vulnerable to fraud. The report found the top challenges merchants face when it comes to mcommerce are:

  • Verifying the identity of a cardholder
  • Determining the source of the transaction when selling goods internationally
  • Differentiating between a customer and a bot (especially with digital goods)
  • Finding a balance between preventing fraud and creating too much friction for customers

Friendly and Chargeback Fraud vs. True Fraud

Friendly fraud is when a cardholder mistakenly disputes a charge they actually authorized. This type of fraud can stem from simple forgetfulness or an unclear merchant descriptor, among other scenarios. Chargeback fraud, on the other hand, is when a cardholder maliciously disputes a charge in an attempt to get their money back while still retaining the goods or services.

Often when discussing disputes and chargebacks, friendly fraud and chargeback fraud are combined, but we feel that it’s important to differentiate them. In this report, they combined friendly fraud and chargeback fraud disputes, calling them 1st party fraud, meaning that the cardholder made the purchase and is disputing the charge. They then compared that data to 3rd party fraud, or as we like to call it, true fraud. True fraud is when a fraudster obtains credit card credentials and successfully uses them at a merchant’s site or store.

Now that we have those definitions out of the way, the report found that for ecommerce merchants, 1st party fraud accounted for 39% of fraud losses and 3rd party fraud accounted for 36%. For ecommerce merchants that sell digital goods, 1st party fraud accounted for 43% of fraud losses and 3rd party fraud accounted for 40%. Where brick-and-mortar retailers found that 1st party fraud accounted for 27% of fraud loss, 3rd party accounted for 27%, and lost/stolen merchandise accounted for 26%.

Digital Goods Have More Risk

Fraudsters will find the places where it is easiest to make money. Digital goods seem to be a rising target for fraudsters. The nature of digital products makes it easier for fraudsters to receive the goods because there is no need for a physical address. And it is convenient to sell digital goods and quickly transfer them to the buyer.

Over the last year, credit card fraud has risen for merchants that sell digital goods. For mid/large ecommerce merchants that sell digital goods, they saw credit card fraud increased from 47% of fraud losses in 2018 to 64% in 2019.

Specific Geographical Location and Channels Can Bring More Fraud

Mcommerce allows fraudsters to slip around verification efforts that would usually be in place on a desktop purchase. Then merchants that allow international purchases open the door to fraud attempts from all over the world. Mid/large scale retailers that sell internationally and through mobile channels see a monthly average of 3,157 fraud attempts, with 1,327 ending up being successful. Compared to mid/large retailers that sell abroad with no mcommerce, the monthly average is 2,006 fraud attempts with 724 ending up being successful.

Stopping Fraud Before it Happens

The True Cost of Fraud report gives merchants a glimpse into what fraud they are currently facing. When creating a fraud strategy, it is important to put preventive measures in place for all types of fraud. The only way to prevent true fraud disputes is to set up accurate fraud prevention, including fraud filters and scoring. Traditionally, friendly fraud and chargeback fraud could only be addressed after a dispute was initiated with a dispute response document. Now there is a better way to prevent friendly fraud and chargeback fraud disputes before they happen with Real-time Resolution.

Real-time Resolution (RTR) allows for real-time communication of customer, order, and product detail to be communicated to the cardholder’s issuing bank. This allows the issuing banks to remind customers about their purchase to prevent friendly fraud and have enough information to prevent invalid disputes from happening, which prevent chargeback fraud.

To learn more about Real-time Resolution and the possible ROI for your company, you can schedule a demo with one of our dispute experts.