So far, this year has come with its fair share of advancements as far as commerce is concerned. Online retail is at its peak, smartphones are now a mainstream shopping tool, and social media is as effective a marketing utility as media advertisements. Thanks to technology and innovation, doing business is now as streamlined as ever.

That said, 2017 hasn’t been all rosy for buyers and sellers. New challenges have emerged, and some previous ones have gained momentum. Among the hurdles that commerce has had to deal with this year has been fraud, particularly in the online market.

If you’re wondering just how safe e-commerce is today, here are some of the fraud trends rocking the airwaves this year.

  1. Fraudsters have gotten more sophisticated

Like any other industry, the growth of online fraud has been characterized by trial and error. To protect themselves, merchants need to be right 100 percent of the time, while criminals only need to get it right one percent of the time. As you can probably already tell, it’s much for a dealer to maintain perfect security than it is for a fraudster to succeed once.

As merchant defenses continue to evolve, so have fraudsters, who are now resulting to increasingly sophisticated tactics. One of the biggest growth areas of fraud has been impersonation and deception scams, where criminals are deceiving victims into revealing their credit card information. Cases of hacked email accounts have also been prevalent.

  1. Fraudsters are making use of large data sets

To curb fraud, merchants have resulted in complicated methods of authorizing payments, which require buyers to submit a horde of personal information to verify their legitimacy. With the need of more personal data in transactions has come a growing size of online data breaches, as fraudsters try to collect as much information as possible to facilitate theft.

The largest potential source of data for criminals seems to be the Internet of Things. Devices like Nest, Amazon Echo, and driverless cars are offering fraudsters with live updates on their victims. As new devices come online to communicate with other devices and with us, gaps in security are emerging, and fraudsters are gaining opportunities to siphon personal data and make their social engineering tactics more foolproof.

  1. Law enforcement has fallen short

State and federal lawmakers have been sluggish to pass new legislation to aid the fight against online fraud. While laws exist to prosecute fraudsters, higher profile cyber crimes like election tampering, massive data breaches and theft of national security information have taken center stage.

Moreover, many cases of online fraud stem from international trading, which presents the challenge of a lack of consensus on how to prosecute criminals across country borders.

Nevertheless, even with the faith in law enforcement far diminished, online merchants have managed to keep fraudsters at bay, thanks to payment processors like eMerchantBroker, whose merchant accounts now include fraud prevention and chargeback protection solutions. The police may be yet to step up to catch online fraudsters, but you still have options.

In 2017, more technology and data mean more possibilities for trade, but also more opportunities for theft. As the online business continues to grow, merchants must remain vigilant against fraudsters.Error processing request