Each dollar merchants have lost to fraud this year has cost them about $2.77 in overall losses, up from $2.40 a year ago, according to the LexisNexis Risk Solutions Fraud Multiplier Tool, used by the Atlanta company to compile the figures in its 2017 True Cost of Fraud report.
The report, which surveyed more than 650 fraud and risk executives, also found that the average number of successful fraudulent transactions per month grew from 206 last year to 238 monthly this year.
The average of prevented fraudulent transactions per month also increased, from 236 in 2016 to 257 in 2017, but fraud losses as a percentage of revenues has also grew slightly from 1.47% to 1.58%.
E-commerce — especially cross-border e-commerce — can be a boon to retailers' bottom lines. More opportunities to sell on a digital platform as more shoppers increasingly seek such experiences is a no-brainer. Multiplying that with international sales is just getting more of a good thing, right?
Yes, but unfortunately, LexisNexis said e-commerce — and especially international e-commerce — increase fraud. "The cost per dollar of fraud among merchants with international transactions is significantly higher than those merchants with domestic-only transactions," the company stated. It also coincides with a rise in account hacking and takeovers.
The report also said that for merchants with both digital and physical goods, the LexisNexis Fraud Multiplier has increased 63% since last year, rising from $2.18 to $3.56.
The payments environment very recently has become much more complex for merchants, thanks to mobile payments, adoption of EMV security at in-store point of sale and other kinds of digital payment features. This complexity takes its toll, making the whole environment more difficult for merchants to manage.
EMV in particular has played a somewhat ironic role in driving fraud online, according to Paul Bjerke, vice president of fraud and identity management strategy at LexiNexis Risk Solutions. He's not the first one to suggest this, and he further explained, "With online fraud outpacing reported growth in e-commerce sales volume, we can point to EMV implementation at physical retail stores as a cause. Also in the digital space, botnet fraud also has risen dramatically, which correlates with the rise in e-gift card volume and fraud."
On the bright side, debit-card fraud dipped slightly among e-commerce and m-commerce merchants in particular, likely the result of chip card-and-pin use, according to LexisNexis. But, credit card fraud remains high among this group, and identity verification also continues to pose challenges for e-commerce transactions. Meanwhile, debit card fraud is still a problem among merchants selling both physical and digital goods.
Merchants are fighting the good fight against fraud, but LexisNexis points out that more varied attempts at protection can be taken, rather than the "one size fits all" approach that many merchants take. Fraud continues to be a very real problem that demands real resources, attention, teamwork and innovative security technology.