The last few years have seen a dramatic increase in the number and sophistication of account takeover (ATO) attacks, targeting businesses and consumers alike, and causing serious damage to consumer trust. Data from Sift’s latest quarterly Digital Trust & Safety Index reveals an alarming 131% increase in ATO attacks in H1 2022 alone, with fintech and marketplaces experiencing the highest uptick. Drawing on data from surveyed consumers and Sift’s global network, the report explores the cause and impact of accelerating ATO across industries. 

So what’s behind this concerning trend? The escalation in ATO attacks can be linked to pandemic-induced digital spending, uncertain economic conditions, and increasingly sophisticated schemes involving automation. The nature of account takeover attacks also makes them easy to scale—having access to one set of compromised credentials often opens the door to multiple accounts, giving fraudsters several sources to steal from. Adding insult to injury, cybercriminals leverage automation via bots and scripts to launch multiple attacks at once, often forcing businesses to choose between introducing excessive friction in their user experience or being consumed by fraud. 

Consumers themselves are also reporting more frequent encounters with ATO, with over half unaware that their accounts had been hacked until they logged in, damaging trust in the brands they interact with and underscoring the need for better merchant-consumer communication. 

The report also found that the continuing growth of the fintech industry means that it remains a key target for ATO. Even this year’s crypto downturn hasn’t deterred cybercriminals who are always looking for new opportunities to commit fraud, regardless of market conditions, as evidenced by Sift’s discovery of the latest iteration of the classic cashout scam, this time targeting hacked bank accounts and forgotten crypto wallets. 

With new research projecting cumulative merchant losses to online fraud to exceed $343B globally between 2023 and 2027, these new findings highlight the need for merchants to adopt an efficient and effective fraud prevention strategy, one that simultaneously promotes growth and builds consumer trust. The good news is that adopting a Digital Trust & Safety strategy—one that allows businesses to introduce friction dynamically—can stifle fraudsters without treating customers like criminals.

The below infographic illustrates key points from our Q3 Digital Trust & Safety Index: Account takeover data, trends, and insights. Explore the following infographic and download the complete report.

 

Related topics

Account abuse

account takeover

ATO

cashout scam

crypto fraud

Digital Trust & Safety

fintech

fraud prevention

trust and safety

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