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3 Common Trends in Payment Fraud

When you think of a trend, you may think of what’s fashionable to wear that month or what people are watching on TV. But trends aren’t reserved solely for the fashion or entertainment industries. 

In fact, fraudsters have trends of their own. Similar to how fashion trends catch on and become popular across the globe, when a fraudster sees something working for someone else, they’ll want to test it out themselves.  

It’s important that businesses are aware of these trends and pay attention to the actions of their customers to help reduce the likelihood of fraud occurring. 

Take this quiz to see if you can spot potential fraud and pick out common trends. 

Now that you’ve seen various situations of fraudulent activity, here’s an excerpt from our eBook, Understanding Payment Fraud and How You Can Mitigate Your Risk, that provides a deeper look at some common trends fraudsters may take advantage of in 2021. 

Mobile Devices 

In 2019, over half of payment fraud attempts were conducted via mobile phone. This is significantly higher than previous years and a trend to be aware of.  

Fraudsters may use malware to infect and take control of mobile devices, or even steal an individual’s mobile device to gain access to personal information. With that information, they can steal user credentials and launch fraud attacks without the user ever being aware.  

If an employee uses their mobile device for work, the cybercriminal can easily access their work email and anything else they’re logged into, including mobile banking apps, and do serious damage. 

Fraudsters are not only using stolen credit cards and credentials but also looking at digital wallets (PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay) to commit fraud. These payment methods are on the rise, which means fraudsters will look to them more often for their bad behaviors.  

By implementing tools such as two-factor authentication, strong PINs, passwords, and encryption, you can reduce the chances of fraudsters accessing the information on stolen or infiltrated devices. 


There has been a dramatic rise in eCommerce recently, with more people looking to online stores for their shopping needs. As many businesses continue to stay closed to in–person shopping in 2021, eCommerce is becoming one of the fastest-growing opportunities for fraudsters who are looking to commit bad behaviors.  

Any business operating from a digital platform should be on the lookout for any gaps in their security and implement fraud prevention strategies. 

Common ways cybercriminals are defrauding eCommerce businesses: 

  • Chargeback fraud – this is perhaps the most common, most expensive, and most time consuming to resolve. 
  • Friendly fraud – as online revenue from eCommerce sites increases, friendly fraud increases along with it. Since eCommerce is up across all industries, friendly fraud is also up. 
  • Account Takeover Fraud – this method of fraud is rapidly gaining traction across all industries. 

eCommerce and online retailers must respond to the rapid growth in fraud by having a strong focus on fraud detection and prevention. This can be done by implementing fraud technology with machine learning algorithms that deliver personalized responses to each transaction. 

Value of Transactions 

Online fraudsters typically aim for bigger ticket items that may have resale value. The average fraudulent transactions in 2019 were three times higher than the average legitimate transaction. Always be alert for any transactions that are higher than what is typical for your business or may seem suspicious in any way. 

A fraudster who’s in possession of a stolen card or credentials doesn’t know how long they have until the card gets canceled, so they try to make the most of it by making extravagant purchases. However, the reverse can also be true. Fraudsters will make small transactions to test whether a card is valid before moving on to bigger ticket items. Pay attention to what is a normal transaction value for your business and be prepared to take action for purchases that are out of the ordinary. Otherwise, you may be hit with a chargeback when the true cardholder realizes what happened. 

As with other industries, trends can shift over time. That’s why it’s so important to stay up to date on popular methods fraudsters use and implement tools and techniques to fight them. 

Interested in learning more about payment fraud? Download our full guide to Understanding Payment Fraud and How You Can Mitigate Your Risk.