June 27th–July 3rd

COVID-19 and E-Commerce Fraud

Each week, we’re sharing insights from Sift’s global data network on how COVID-19 is impacting e-commerce. The map illustrates weekly instances of fraud by region.

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Market Snapshot:

Most impacted verticals and fraud rates*

Total traffic and fraud rates

The graph below shows how COVID-19 is impacting e-commerce merchants throughout the Sift global data network, which uses real-time machine learning to analyze 35 billion events per month—e.g., actions that Sift customers send to our network, such as login attempts, account creations, or transactions—to surface new fraud signals and trends.

FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJuly2.0%2.5%3.0%Event VolumeFraud Rate

Merchant traffic and fraud rates by vertical

The following data represents a 7-day moving average to illustrate how COVID-19 is impacting merchants by vertical. Note that in some cases, slowdowns in traffic are driving fraud rates higher because the average number of fraud attacks is being calculated against declining event volumes.

Digital e-commerce

Current fraud rate: 2.98%

Overall traffic and transactions in digital e-commerce are up this week, with fraud rates trending down. Total instances of fraud in this sector have been increasing substantially and steadily for a month, but finally began dropping again over the past week. Even so, this demonstrates that the economy is still very much in flux and fraudsters continue to exploit market unrest. Volumes will likely continue to fluctuate across digital e-commerce as the market reacts to loosened restrictions and significant economic changes in multiple verticals, with opportunistic fraudsters ready to take advantage of the uncertainty.

FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJuly3.0%3.5%4.0%4.5%Event VolumeFraud Rate

Ticketing and events

Current fraud rate: 1.4%

Ticketing and events merchants saw volumes drop this week. Though recent upticks were likely due to parts of the economy opening back up, this downturn could be a result of reinstated lockdown orders and delayed reopening plans for many businesses, which were put in place this past week after U.S. cases of coronavirus spiked. Thankfully, fraud rates for this industry are trending down this week as well—but merchants should continue to prioritize secure experiences for their customers, and focus on safely navigating a restless market.

FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJuly0.0%2.0%4.0%Event VolumeFraud Rate

Travel and transportation

Current fraud rate: 2.72%

Though global travel bans quickly cleared the skies and the streets as coronavirus rapidly spread across the planet, volumes across this vertical jumped this past week—demonstrating that jetsetters are hopeful about traveling once again in the somewhat-near future. And though fraud rates are trending down for the second week in a row, consumers and merchants alike should stay vigilant, with rates still about 16.5% higher than they were last year at this same time.

FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJuly2.0%4.0%6.0%Event VolumeFraud Rate

Physical e-commerce

Current fraud rate: 1.48%

This week in physical e-commerce, volumes are up, with fraud rates increasing as well. This could be due to a variety of responses to COVID-driven restrictions being lifted and changed; some consumers have been returning to brick-and-mortar shops as they reopened, while others continue to take advantage of no-contact shopping options. Either way, it’s clear that fraudsters have not slowed their efforts to exploit economic fluctuations, and merchants should continue to build flexibility and adaptability into their fraud mitigation efforts.

FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJuly1.0%1.5%2.0%Event VolumeFraud Rate


Current fraud rate: 11.66%

As concern over coronavirus grew, online learning platforms saw an avalanche of traffic as teachers and students pivoted quickly to virtual classrooms and content. Fraud rates in this vertical have gone up slightly over the past week, and Education still currently shows the highest fraud rate across the entire Sift network. Volumes dropped steadily for about a month after graduations took place, but have risen over the last seven days as summer courses began and—at least in some areas of the world—lockdown orders were reinstated to stave off rising cases of COVID-19.

FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJuly12.0%14.0%16.0%Event VolumeFraud Rate

Financial services

Current fraud rate: 0.83%

Event volumes in the financial services space (e.g., banks, insurance providers, and credit unions) spiked dramatically this week, although fraud rates are dropping. The impact of businesses closing their doors or changing strategy over the course of the pandemic, coupled with far-reaching quarantine orders, has been immense. Some individuals and institutions are spending more conservatively and keeping a more watchful eye on finances, making this vertical an unattractive (though not invisible) target for fraudsters.

FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJuly1.0%1.5%2.0%Event VolumeFraud Rate

Food and beverage

Current fraud rate: 0.9%

Consumers have changed how they dine, where they shop, and how they pay. In light of social distancing, they’re taking steps to limit physical contact through mobile payments, food and grocery delivery, and BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store), initially causing significant increases in volume. This week, those volumes continue to rise, with fraud rates trending upward as well. Shifting demand is likely impacting volume-to-fraud ratios, as opposed to there being any significant difference in fraud attempts.

FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJuly0.8%1.0%1.2%Event VolumeFraud Rate