Report: Delaware riskiest state for shipping, billing fraud

DOVER — Experian — one of the “big three” consumer credit reporting agencies — recently released a report that claims Delaware is the riskiest state in the U.S. in terms of shipping and billing fraud. The 2017 E-commerce Fraud Report examined millions of online transactions to identify fraud attacks on online transactions across the country.

The report defines shipping fraud as occurring when a “criminal” uses their address for the delivery of stolen goods purchased online. Billing fraud is defined as occurring when a victim’s address is tied to the payment account used to purchase the stolen goods.

Delaware, along with Oregon, are at the top of the risky list for the second year in a row.

The data shows that 50 percent of total online fraud attacks were from Delaware, Oregon, Florida, New York and California. Delaware and Oregon are the riskiest states for both billing and shipping and continue to see a significant increase in shipping attack rates, with Delaware increasing over 300 percent, and Oregon just under 300 percent.

The rates of e-commerce fraud are on the rise across the county, reports the credit bureau. Online shopping fraud attacks rose 30 percent in 2017, and transactions originating from a foreign Internet Protocol (IP) address were about seven times riskier than average. An IP address is a unique set of numbers used to identify individual digital devices, allowing them to communicate with other devices on a network.

Among fraudulent transactions in 2017, 53 percent took place through an internet browser while 29 percent happened on a mobile device. The average amount lost per zip code for online shopping fraud was $855 in 2017.

Credit card fraud was the most common form of identity theft (133,015 reports) in 2017, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Among the fraudulent transactions last year, 92 percent used a credit card, while 7 percent happened through direct billing, third-party transfers or prepaid gift cards.

The growth of e-commerce fraud can be viewed as the last stop on the larger fraud timeline, which often starts with a data breach, says Experian. The uptick in data breaches, already 278 incidents in 2018, and the increased presence of the “dark web marketplace” have made personal information more accessible to criminals; that, in turn, makes it easier for fraudsters to access legitimate online accounts.

How to prevent online fraud?

Experian suggests not using the same username and password combinations across multiple sites, monitoring your financial statements for irregular activity and checking your credit report routinely. Additional steps to help prevent online fraud include:

• Limit data exposure

• Don’t “overshare”

• Only use trusted sites

• Check login credentials if theft is suspected

The credit bureau also suggests calling your bank immediately if any financial information may have been breached to cancel credit cards and change passwords. If your bank account numbers were included in a breach, it’s recommended to close those accounts and open new ones. Performing a “Dark Web scan” may also be useful to determine if any information is for sale in illicit marketplaces.

For more information, or to read the full report, visit

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