Only 1% in North America are made by criminals, iovation finds.

Africa had the highest online fraud rate in 2012 when compared to other continents, according to fraud prevention technology provider iovation Inc.

The vendor analyzed billions of online transactions processed through its ReputationManager 360 device reputation and fraud prevention service to identify geographic trends.

Following are the online fraud rates for the five continents that generated the most online fraud in 2012, with the countries with the highest percentages of fraud noted:

  • Africa, 7%, Nigeria and Ghana
  • Asia, 5%, Bangladesh, Vietnam and India
  • South America, 4%, Chile and Brazil
  • Europe, 2%, Poland, Romania and Portugal
  • North America, 1%, Mexico

“While fraud origins are regionally diverse, these geographies were unified in the kinds of fraud cybercriminals attempted,” says Scott Waddell, chief technology officer at iovation. “The majority of fraud in 2012 involved credit card fraud, identity theft and account takeover attempts.”

Account takeover occurs when a criminal hacks his way into an account, such as a consumer’s account with a retailer that contains billing and shipping information, and then places fraudulent orders.


When examining the industries targeted by criminals, iovation found the following by continent:

  • Africa: The majority of fraudulent transactions targeted online dating and retail web sites. The continent’s top offenses included credit card fraud, identity theft, and online scams and solicitations.
  • Asia: Nearly half of all fraudulent transactions targeted retail web sites, with online dating and online gaming fraud making up one-third. Major offenses in retail included credit card fraud, identity theft and shipping fraud. Shipping fraud occurs when a criminal places an order to an address known to the victim and retailer so as not to set off fraud prevention alarms, but then changes the shipping address once an order has been processed so that the merchandise goes to the criminal.
  • South America: 70% of fraudulent transactions targeted retail web sites, with credit card fraud and identity theft topping the list.
  • Europe: The transactions deemed fraudulent were more evenly spread across a number of industries including retail, dating, gaming, gambling, financial services, travel and telecommunications.
  • North America: Like Europe, fraudulent transactions were spread across a diverse group of industries, including retail, gaming, financial services, travel and logistics. Credit card fraud, identity theft, spam and solicitations, and account takeover attempts were most prominent.

More than 2,000 fraud managers worldwide use iovation’s database of 1.2 billion Internet devices and relationships between devices to determine the level of risk associated with an online transaction, the company says.