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Gen Z More Likely to Be Involved in Fraud than Baby Boomers Reveals Sift

When it comes to fraud, older generations are less likely to commit it and fall victim to it according to Sift, the AI-powered fraud platform. 

In its latest findings, Q1 2024 Digital Trust & Safety Index, Sift has uncovered that 33 per cent of Gen Z survey respondents either have, or know someone who has participated in payment fraud. This is compared to only 10 per cent of Baby Boomers. Additionally, 34 per cent of Gen Z consumers have seen offers to participate in online fraud, compared to only nine per cent of Baby Boomers.

Kevin Lee, VP of trust and safety at Sift
Kevin Lee, VP of trust and safety at Sift

“These generational divides are blurring the line between bad actor and consumer,” said Kevin Lee, VP of trust and safety at Sift. “Younger generations are composed of digital natives who are both facing troubling levels of economic anxiety and tend to be more trusting of digital spaces – often at the expense of their online security.

“They’re also exposed more often to offers to participate in fraud schemes. These converging factors mean merchants and payment processors have to think differently about the full spectrum of risk and how to stay ahead of it.”

Fraud Industry Benchmarking Resource

In addition to surveying consumers, the Q1 Digital Trust & Safety Index relies on data from the Fraud Industry Benchmarking Resource (FIBR), an online tool powered by Sift. It allows anyone to access key fraud metrics across industries, geographies, and time. The report explores payment fraud increases across key verticals, payment attack rates for top card issuers, and shifts in consumer buying behaviour due to trends in payment fraud.

For example, findings indicate that fraudsters are turning their focus to high-velocity transactions in the hopes of staying undetected. Across the Sift Global Data Network in 2023, specific industries experienced major spikes in attempted payment fraud: iGaming saw a 93 per cent increase, ticketing saw a 68 per cent increase, food ordering and delivery saw a 53 per cent increase, and retail saw a 46 per cent increase.

Industry reports indicate that globally, merchant losses due to payment fraud reached $38billion in 2023. They are expected to soar to a cumulative total of $362billion by 2028.

Evolving consumer attitudes

The start of 2024 brought increased economic pressure to both consumers and businesses, driven by persistent inflation and high-interest rates. This economic anxiety has led to a shift towards value-seeking behaviour. Shoppers are now preferring to purchase cheaper goods and services and “dupes” over premium brands. The macroeconomic backdrop is expected to remain unpredictable, with global events creating turbulence and increasing the likelihood of scams—many of which could be upleveled by generative AI.

Findings from Sift’s survey of 1,052 adults (aged 18+) across the United States in February 2024 highlight the impact of digital risk on economic uncertainty. It reveals that the increased threat of AI-powered fraud is already influencing consumers’ online shopping behaviour.

In fact, 30 per cent of those surveyed shop online less frequently due to the cybersecurity threats posed by artificial intelligence. Furthermore, 76 per cent would stop using or shopping on a site where they had been a victim of payment fraud. With 43 per cent of consumers saying they have been a victim of payment fraud at least once in the past 18 months, there’s potential for a meaningful impact to businesses’ revenue if the industry fails to get ahead of payment fraud attacks.

“As consumer spending habits evolve and fraud becomes supercharged by AI, businesses need to fight fire with fire, and leverage AI to their own advantage. It’s a necessary piece in the growing challenge of delivering consumer experiences that are seamless and secure,” concluded Lee.

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