For The First Time in 25 Years Merchants Have Identified Refund/Policy Abuse and First-Party Misuse as the leading Threats, Surpassing Phishing in North America and Europe

Merchant Risk Council
Mar 27, 2024
Press Release

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Contact: Julie Fergerson

Chief Executive Officer 

Merchant Risk Council

+01 512 699 6821



The 25th Edition of the Global eCommerce Payments & Fraud Report Reveals a New Landscape in the Fight Against Fraud in North America and Europe

Redmond, WA - March 27, 2024 — The Merchant Risk Council (MRC), the foremost global non-profit membership association for payments and fraud professionals, today announced the release of their 2024 Global eCommerce Payments and Fraud Report in partnership with Visa Acceptance Solutions and Verifi.

The 25th Edition of the online merchant focused research report, reveals that Phishing, the fraudulent practice of sending emails or other messages pretending to be from reputable companies to persuade individuals to reveal personal information has been toppled as the leading fraud attack as merchants’ biggest problem.

Taking the top spot, Refund/Policy Abuse aka returns abuse, is when a customer places an order, receives the goods and then fraudulently claims to have not received the shipment. Customers may also abuse refunds by faking returns/receipts, reselling merchandise or returning a product but the product return box is filled with rocks or sand.

Occupying the second spot, First Party Misuse (FPM), refers to chargebacks that are based on false or erroneous claims.

“The MRC has been tracking card not present fraudulent behavior while providing education and solutions for merchants to fight against eCommerce payment fraud and enable payments since 2000,” said Tracy Kobeda Brown VP, Programs & Technology for the MRC, “With that said, to see the rapid rise in refund/policy abuse, and continual rise in FPM, signals a priority focus that merchants should be reviewing to combat losses. A plethora of MRC events, webinars and educational tools will focus on this topic in 2024.”

The report indicates that merchants are facing more fraud attacks than they have in prior years. The number of different types of fraud experienced by the average merchant in 2024 rose from three to four. See excerpt from research report below.

Bar graph showing types of fraud experienced by merchants

“First-Party Misuse is not only an attack on a merchant’s bottom line,” said Lisa Polter-Tennant, SVP Global Client Relations, Verifi, “It’s an attack on customer retention and the very brand that merchants work so hard to maintain. Going forward it will be critical for merchants to employ a strategy that recognizes the nuances of a merchant’s dispute process and to protect the lifetime value of their customer base”

“The fundamental change in thinking for Refund/Policy Abuse and First-Party Misuse for these types of fraud tactics are unlike Phishing which is stopped in real time,” said Keri Kramers-Dove, Vice President, Acceptance Risk Solutions, Visa, “Rather they happen well after the purchase and receipt of goods. This change in fraudster behavior will require merchants to apply multiple tools pre- and post-purchase to combat these forms of fraud.”

The comprehensive 2024 Global eCommerce Payments and Fraud Report includes trends in key areas: Global Payment Acceptance, Payment Tactics & Metrics, Payment Partnerships, Fraud Opportunities, First Party Misuse and Fraud Management.

The MRC thanks the engaged merchants who dedicated their time to our survey, to Visa Acceptance Solutions, and Verifi for their ongoing partnership for managing the research. It is through these valued relationships the MRC can offer unrestricted access to the insights of this report.

Unrestricted access to the 2024 MRC global eCommerce Payments and Fraud Report

About Merchant Risk Council

The MRC is a non-profit 501 global membership association that unites eCommerce payments and fraud professionals from global merchants, solutions providers, and law enforcement agencies. They collaborate to share strategies for fraud and risk mitigation, contributing to the ongoing battle against eCommerce fraud. The MRC is the leading destination for professional development through educational programs, online community groups, conferences, and network events. Encompassing 800+ companies, including merchants and solution providers, the MRC provides education on fraud prevention, payment optimization, and risk management.

For additional information about the MRC visit Merchant Risk Council

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