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As the holiday shopping season gets into full swing, merchants aren’t the only ones expecting to have a prosperous year. Fraudsters, too, are out to grab their illicit share of the money changing hands (or accounts) in the weeks ahead. Especially susceptible to theft by fraud are millions of e-commerce merchants who are unprepared to identify and stop the bad transactions that should never be completed. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven e-commerce to new heights. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the highest annual e-commerce growth rate in two decades occurred in 2020, when online sales experienced a year-over-year increase of 32.4 percent. The growth rate for 2021 is projected to be “only” 17.9 percent. That’s the good news. The bad news is, when more purchases are made online, the opportunities for fraud grow as well. Looking back at the 2020 holiday shopping season, TransUnion reports the days with the highest percentage of suspected fraudulent e-commerce transactions were: You read that right. More than a quarter of all e-commerce transactions on Cyber Monday alone were suspected to be fraudulent. Those are stunning numbers that are simply unsustainable for even the most profitable businesses. Jupiter Research estimates that merchants will lose $130 billion worldwide to online payment fraud between 2018 and 2023. LexisNexis Risk Solutions says that amounts to 1.8 percent of revenue for businesses in an industry where margins can be thin from the start….

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