49% of all risky online transactions come from mobile devices

About half of all risky online transactions appear to be coming from a mobile device, according to iovation. Specifically, in the first half of 2019 49% of all risky transactions came from mobile devices, up from 30% in 2018, 33% in 2017 and 25% in 2016.

risky online transactions

iovation came to this conclusion by analyzing the 30 billion online transactions it evaluated for fraud from January 2016 to June 30, 2019.

“Fraudsters are like chameleons. They are always adapting their tactics to make it look like they’re legitimate customers,” said iovation’s Senior Director of Customer Success, Melissa Gaddis.

“With well over half of all transactions now coming from mobile devices, our analysts increasingly see fraudsters either using mobile devices or making it look like their transactions are coming from mobile when in fact they are using a traditional desktop.”

Iovation also found:

  • The top continents for mobile fraud: So far in 2019 it is North America with 59% of all risky transactions coming from mobile devices. In 2018, it was Asia at 53%. In 2017, it was North America with 55%. In 2016, it was North America again with 36%.
  • The top countries for mobile fraud: Gabon leads so far in 2019 with 85% of all risky transactions coming from mobile devices. It 2018, it was Japan with 79%. Papua New Guinea led in 2017 with 86%. In 2016, it was Bangladesh with 59%.
  • The top industries for mobile fraud: So far in 2019 it is telecommunications with 75% of all risky transactions coming from mobile devices. In 2018, it was gambling with 60%. Communities (for example social networks or online dating sites) led in 2017 at 59%. In 2016, it was healthcare with 58%.

risky online transactions

To find fraudulent transactions from mobile devices, businesses should closely analyze specific indicators including:

  • Mobile emulators: Fraudsters like to hide information by using emulators to make it look like their desktop device is a mobile device.
  • Orientation: Is a device staying in the same position or is it face down? These could be tell-tale signs of a bot or a fraudster emulating a mobile device.
  • SIM card country: Since fraudsters often try to mask their location, the SIM card country provides yet another method for identifying the true location of the end-user. Fraud analysts may find fraudsters that target their businesses tend to have devices from particular countries.
  • SIM card carrier name: Certain mobile carriers can have a higher percentage of fraudulent activity originating from them.
  • Currency: The type of currency tied to a device provides additional context to the region associated with the device. This can be another way to determine if the device is coming from a risky location.
  • Language: Much like countries, carriers and currency, the language used on a device provides additional context on the transaction which can help crack a fraud case when a fraudster is attempting to mask other aspects of their device.
  • Mobile OS version: Certain mobile operating system versions may correlate with fraud or abuse.

Mobile transaction jump

61% of all online transactions came from mobile devices so far this year, up from 56% in 2018, 51% in 2017 and 45% in 2016. Europe and North America are consistently among the top continents for mobile transactions with 67% and 60% respectively so far this year. The top industry for mobile transactions so far in 2019 is communities with 73%.