TransUnion says Namibia’s retail sector most targeted by digital fraudsters

The rate of suspected Digital Fraud attempts in retail where the consumer was in Namibia when transacting was the highest among industries analyzed in 2023 at 3.4%. However, that rate decreased 21% year-over-year (YoY). When it came to the industries with the greatest increase in the rate of suspected Digital Fraud, travel & leisure led that statistic with a 67% rise. This was followed by gaming (online sports betting, poker, etc.) where the rate of suspected Digital Fraud increased by 37% YoY. Some of these findings were revealed in TransUnion’s 2024 State of Omnichannel Fraud Report. 

TransUnion also found across industries in 2023, 1.2% of all transactions where the consumer was in Namibia were flagged as being suspected Digital Fraud – a 1% YoY decrease.

The TransUnion report revealed that nearly one in seven (13.5%) newly created accounts are suspected to be created via Digital Fraud globally, largely driven by bad actors using fabricated or stolen identities. This may indicate a shift in the tactics deployed by fraudsters hoping to engage earlier in the transactional process.

Examples of the types of transactions that take place during the account creation process include account signup, registration and loan origination. Among the industries that saw the highest percentage of digital account creation transactions suspected to be Digital Fraud globally in 2023 were retail (44.7%), travel and leisure (36.0%), and video gaming (31.5%).

“This early phase new account digital fraud  may represent a paradigm shift of sorts among fraudsters globally,” said Lara Burger, country manager at TransUnion Namibia. “In lieu of using traditional tactics to gain access to and ultimately compromise existing accounts, they are increasingly choosing to create new accounts that they can control themselves. These fraudsters leverage synthetic identities assembled in large part through the use of credentials gathered as a result of one or multiple data breaches.”

In contrast, for transactions where the consumer was in Namibia, the highest percentage of suspected Digital Fraud in the online customer journey occurred at account login, at 1.6%, varying widely by industry.

The study found that 5% of all global digital transactions were suspected to be Digital Fraud in 2023, with the volume of risky transactions up 14% YoY and 105% from 2019 to 2023. This growth continues to outpace the growth in digital transactions overall, which rose 90% from 2019 to 2023.

Globally, retail surpassed gaming as the industry seeing the highest rate of suspected Digital Fraud in 2023 at 8.7%, up 21% YoY. In addition, the telecommunications industry saw a 111% YoY increase in the suspected Digital Fraud rate, up to 4.5%.

“In recent years, the global retail industry has consistently been among those with the highest suspected fraud attempt rates. However, in 2023 it climbed to the top of the list,” said Burger. “As a result of credentials stolen in data breaches, often in industries other than retail, it has become increasingly easy for fraudsters to perpetuate attacks that leave retailers vulnerable to account takeover.”

TransUnion came to its conclusions about Digital Fraud based on intelligence from its identity and fraud product suite that helps secure trust across channels and delivers efficient consumer experiences – TransUnion TruValidate. The rate or percentage of suspected Digital Fraud attempts reflect those that TransUnion customers determined met one of the following conditions: 1) denial in real time due to fraudulent indicators, 2) denial in real time for corporate policy violations, 3) fraudulent upon customer investigation, or 4) a corporate policy violation upon customer investigation —compared to all transactions assessed.

The report’s findings are based on proprietary insights from TransUnion’s global intelligence network, and includes data from Namibia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States and Zambia.

TransUnion is a global information and insights company with over 13,000 associates operating in more than 30 countries, including Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Zambia, South Africa, eSwatini, and Zambia.

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