Suspected Digital Fraud in UK Sees 40% Spike Around Black Friday

The average number of suspected digital fraud attempts for transactions from the UK on any given day surrounding Black Fridayi was 40% higher than the average for the rest of the yearii  – according to global information and insights company TransUnion.iii

The new findings indicate that the share of suspected digital fraud during this period, which traditionally marks the start of Christmas shopping, reached its peak on Cyber Monday (22%), 28 November. Meanwhile, Black Friday – 25 November – and Sunday 27 November (both 21%) were close behind. However, the amount of potential fraud was high in all of the surrounding days, and with gift buying likely to continue in the run-up to the festive season, the increase in volume of ecommerce transactions relative to the rest of the year may well continue to cause issues.

Shail Deep, chief product officer at TransUnion in the UK, said: “Fraudsters shift focus and align to consumer behaviour, so just as the start of the seasonal shopping period signals a boom in purchases, it also means a sharp increase in fraud attempts. The recent rapid digital acceleration we’ve seen is here to stay, and many will be doing their festive shopping online. This means digital fraud poses a high risk, and it’s crucial that retailers use every tool at their disposal to protect themselves and their customers.”

TransUnion’s analysis shows that the start of the 2022 festive shopping season saw a significant spike in digital fraud, as around one in six (17%) ecommerce transactions in the UK between 24 November and 28 November were suspected to be fraudulent. These findings are based on intelligence from billions of transactions contained in TransUnion’s TruValidate fraud analytics solution suite.

Josh Gunnell, director of fraud & ID at TransUnion in the UK, said: “Clearly, digital fraud remains a big risk for retailers to grapple with. Having the right protections in place is critical. But it’s also essential to provide consumers with necessary information that can help prevent them falling victim – particularly in a challenging economic environment.

“With the rising cost of living and financially vulnerable consumers becoming ripe targets for scammers, retailers will be working hard behind the scenes in the lead-up to the festive season to protect consumers while offering them a seamless shopping experience that minimises unnecessary friction.”

TransUnion monitors digital fraud attempts reported by businesses in varied industries such as gambling, gaming, financial services, healthcare, insurance, retail, and travel and leisure, among others. The conclusions are based on intelligence from billions of transactions and more than 40,000 websites and apps contained in TransUnion’s flagship identity proofing, risk-based authentication and fraud analytics solution suite – TruValidate.


i Refers to the period between 24 and 28 November 2022

ii Refers to the period between 1 January and 23 November 2022

iii The percent of suspected digital fraud attempts are those that TruValidate customers either denied or reviewed due to fraudulent indicators compared to all transactions it assessed for fraud