eCommerce Firms Use Advanced Screening Tools to Combat Tech-Driven Fraud

fraud detected on laptop

eCommerce firms are grappling with the widespread impact of fraud, and according to PYMNTS Intelligence research, more than 80% encountered true fraud — verified instances of fraudulent activities, not just suspected cases or false positives — in the past year.

The PYMNTS Intelligence study “Fraud Management, False Declines and Improved Profitability” showed that while human-driven fraud accounted for 21% of true fraud experienced, technology-driven fraud schemes, such as phishing or cyberattacks conducted using bots or artificial intelligence, accounted for at least 61% of the true fraud encountered.

A December cyberattack that left VF Corporation, the owner of Vans, The North Face, Timberland and Dickies, struggling to fulfill customers’ orders is but one recent example of these tech-driven fraud attacks.

“As of the date of this filing, the incident has had and is reasonably likely to continue to have a material impact on the company’s business operations until recovery efforts are completed,” VF Corporation said in a Dec. 18 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Cybercriminals, both within the United States and abroad, also targeted shoppers during the holiday season using AI chatbots, such as ChatGPT, to impersonate retailers and lure unsuspecting victims with discounts in their native languages, per a CBS report.

“Unfortunately, criminals are getting much better at writing English,” Michael Bordash, senior vice president of telecom company Syniverse, told CBS MoneyWatch. “ChatGPT is a big help for them in crafting messages. You don’t have to be a proficient English speaker to have ChatGPT write a campaign for you.”

The number of phishing attacks, which rely on sophisticated social engineering tactics, doubled to hit over 500 million in 2022, with one of the popular targets of these attacks being online shoppers, research from cybersecurity company Kaspersky revealed.

“Fraudsters are skilled at creating phishing web pages identical to the original websites that collect private user data or encourage the transfer of money to fraudsters targeting both individuals and organizations,” which makes “them highly dangerous to those who are not aware of them,” the firm noted in a report summary.

Tech-driven fraud schemes

PYMNTS Intelligence data revealed a noteworthy trend: the occurrence of true tech-fraud incidents tends to decrease as the annual revenue of eCommerce firms increases. Specifically, nearly 63% of eCommerce firms generating at least $100 million reported the highest instances of true fraud in the last 12 months, which dropped to 59% for those with an annual sales revenue of at least $1 billion.

The PYMNTS Intelligence report highlighted a challenge in accurately identifying the source of fraud attacks. Approximately 20% of confirmed instances of true fraud in 2023 left online retailers struggling to distinguish whether they originated from human- or technology-driven sources.

This underscores a need for the eCommerce space to embrace screening mechanisms capable of differentiating and minimizing the impact of fraud, especially considering that 11% of online retailers do not employ screening tools to identify the cause of payment failures, as emphasized in the study.

Almost all eCommerce firms, however, are innovating their anti-fraud tools or have plans to do so within the next 12 months, per the report. These initiatives will likely see upgraded and modernized payment technologies playing a role in helping to safeguard against illicit payments, while enhancing the overall satisfaction of the customer payment experience.