Coronavirus Pandemic, Store Closures, Shift Consumer Buying Behavior Leading to Accelerated Digital Transformation for Merchants

Forter Issues First In A Monthly Series of Coronavirus Special Reports

NEW YORK--()--Forter, the leader in e-commerce fraud prevention, today announced the release of the Forter Special Report on the Impact of Coronavirus on Consumer and Fraudster Behavior. The report provides merchants across industries with insight into trends seen within the $150B in transactions that Forter processes annually.

As the Coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the globe, government responses have included enforced social distancing and financial support to beleaguered economies. Merchants who sell non-essential goods have responded by closing physical stores, and in some regions also their online operations. Consumers have begun to shift their purchases, even those of essential items such as groceries, online.

The Forter Special Report tracks trends and spikes in consumer behavior as well as innovative methods that opportunistic fraudsters take to prey on consumers during this unprecedented and unpredictable time.

“Merchants are scrambling to cut costs, reduce the impact of fraud, scale efficiently, and deliver a consistent customer experience to meet rising consumer online buying behavior,” said Michael Reitblat, CEO and co-Founder of Forter. “The aftermath of the pandemic will accelerate digital transformation among merchants as consumer shopping habits adapt.”

Covering industries including travel, fashion and beauty, food and beverage, marketplaces, and more, The Forter Special Report uncovers consumer buying trends such as:

  • The travel industry has been extremely hard hit. Regional variations are appearing, in particular an increase in purchases of inbound international travel to China in the weeks before the country closed down inbound travel on 26 March. Data in the last month points to “optimistic travel” in which the travel date is 120 or more days following booking. Such bookings now account for 65% of travel purchases.
  • The food and beverage industry has seen a dramatic increase in online purchases. New accounts now represent 15-25% of all customer volume, compared to 5-7% prior to the pandemic. As merchants struggle to manage the increased volume and meet expectations of new customers we are seeing an increase in service chargebacks.

Fraudsters are exploiting confusion and uncertainty caused by government and corporate policies:

  • As people adjust to working from home, Forter sees a marked increase in social engineering fraud, associated with fake emails purporting to be from HR and corporate addresses. Here fraudsters invite people to click for more information, instead taking victims to malicious sites.
  • With a shift to online shopping in Apparel and Accessories, we see an increase in gift card purchases. While a higher number of legitimate buyers usually means that fraud rates drop, gift card fraud rates have not. Fraudsters have noticed an increased demand of the completely virtual merchandise that is easy to monetize.

In its recent report, “Mitigate Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Impacts With Digital Commerce (March 2020),” Gartner asserts that “the COVID-19 outbreak will negatively impact business performance in the short term as offline activities are canceled and online orders overwhelm delivery capacities. Application leaders can mitigate the impact and ensure continuity of operations by accelerating digital commerce initiatives.”

“With more consumers experiencing buying online, we expect merchants who hadn’t considered e-Commerce as a viable platform to now try it,” continued Reitblat. “Merchants that had already adopted e-Commerce struggle to meet this increase in demand. Working collaboratively from home and hiring to meet the volume create obstacles for those who manually review transactions for fraud.”

Forter’s integrated fraud prevention platform delivers real-time decisions at every point of the customer journey from account sign up and login, to purchase, and to returns. The system is tailored for each merchant based on its unique business requirements, pairing merchant feedback with Forter’s expertise.

Forter’s growing Global Merchant Network includes over 620 million consumers globally and 97% of online US consumers. Links among known consumers and those new to the network allow the platform to infer trust, resulting in higher accuracy without the need to manually review transactions and interactions.

With the Forter platform merchants can expect an up to 90% reduction in false declines, recapturing otherwise lost revenue and delivering the best possible buying experience to their consumers, with an up to 90% decrease in chargebacks due to fraudulent activity. Forter allows merchants to scale and accelerate their digital transformation strategies even in an uncertain time.

“Rules based systems by their nature look at the past and adapt to it,” said Reitblat. “New consumer behaviors, which we’re seeing across industries, as well as new fraud behaviors, are missed by these systems until they can adapt. Forter’s identity-based system authenticates the buyer, not just the behavior.”

Together with the Special Report, Forter has also issued its Eighth Fraud Attack Index, highlighting industry trends and innovative fraud vectors, showing the evolution of fraud, comparing H2 2019 to H2 2018. The report features the continued evolution of fraud attack vectors across all customer touchpoints, demonstrating the need to protect merchants’ digital offerings at all interactions in the customer journey, from account abuse to payment abuse to policy abuse,


About Forter

Forter is the leader in e-commerce fraud prevention, processing over $150 billion in online commerce transactions and protecting over 620 million consumers globally from credit card fraud, account takeover, identity theft, and more. The company’s identity-based fraud prevention solution detects fraudulent activity in real-time, throughout all online consumer experiences.

Forter’s integrated fraud prevention platform is powered by its rapidly growing Global Merchant Network, underpinned by predictive fraud research and modeling, and the ability for customers to tailor the platform for their specific needs. As a result, Forter is trusted by Fortune 500 companies to deliver exceptional accuracy, a smoother user experience, and elevated sales at a much lower cost. Forter was recently named the Leader in e-Commerce Fraud Prevention by Frost & Sullivan.

Forter is backed by $100M of capital from top-tier VCs including Sequoia, NEA, and Salesforce.


Jake Schuster
P: 617-986-5021

Release Summary

Forter, the e-commerce fraud prevention leader today released its Special Report on the Impact of Coronavirus on Consumer and Fraudster Behavior.


Jake Schuster
P: 617-986-5021