Outseer is advising consumers to be careful when engaging with brands online. The warning comes in the firm’s latest fraud and payments report, which found that Brand Abuse skyrocketed during the first quarter of 2021.
Brand Abuse occurs when a fraudster poses as a representative of a company on social media or through some other channel. False brand activity accounted for 32 percent of all fraud attacks in the fourth quarter of 2020, but that number jumped to an astonishing 56 percent in the January to March period covered in the new report.
Fraudsters that engage in Brand Abuse are usually trying to build trust with consumers in an effort to harvest personal information. However, the actual nature of the attack can take many different forms. Phishing accounted for 21 percent of all attacks in the report, while rogue mobile apps accounted for 17 percent. Outseer noted that Trojan horse attacks (six percent) have declined as fraudsters have transitioned to Brand Abuse.
Thankfully, the report did find that more people are beginning to use stronger authentication methods when making payments. The number of transactions authorized with the EMV 3-D Secure and EMV 3-D Secure 2.0 protocols are up 59 percent and 1,667 percent, respectively, over the first quarter of 2020.
The vast majority (74 percent) of phishing attacks were hosted on ISPs in the United States. The victims, meanwhile, lost more money during web attacks than they did during mobile ones, insofar as the average fraud transaction through the web was twice as large as the average on mobile devices ($7,367 vs. $3,368).
For its part, Outseer attributed the latest wave of fraud to the dramatic spike in online sales activity in the wake of COVID-19.
“It comes as no surprise that fraud attack volume continues to grow at a record pace, considering the pronounced shift to digital commerce throughout the pandemic,” said Outseer CMO Armen Najarian. “Global eCommerce spending grew 28 percent annually to $4.2 trillion in 2020, paving the way for more fraudulent behavior and more sophistication in attack types.”
Outseer is a subsidiary of RSA. The latter’s SecurID Access solution obtained FedRAMP In-Process status in November of 2020.
[UPDATE 06/25/21: Statistics concerning fraud types globally have been updated to reflect figures that Outseer has corrected from an initial press release that listed erroneous data.]