The era of a global pandemic led to more people staying at home. That meant a substantial growth in online business, particularly in banking and retail sectors, along with food delivery, education, streaming services, pharmacy sales, telemedicine and others.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development reported that e-commerce grew to 19 percent of all retail sales globally in 2020, and the US alone added $105 billion in ecommerce, nearing 40 percent growth in Q1 2021.
Online fraud—including cybercrime and scams—has risen in proportion to this growth. And as fraud frequency has grown, so has its sophistication. In Q3 and Q4 of 2020, sophisticated attacks on retailers grew to 76% of all attacks. These types of attacks are slower, but harder to detect because they attempt to mimic human behavior. And as fraud has evolved, businesses report they have been less effective at fighting it.
Fraud will continue to grow in volume and sophistication at or more than the rate of ongoing online business growth. The world’s governments are scrambling to catch up with needed changes to cyber laws to hold those committing fraud accountable, but the best option is to prevent fraud from happening in the first place.