Credit card testing, a tactic used by fraudsters to test stolen credit card numbers with small incremental purchases before making large-dollar purchases on the card, is up 200 percent in the first four months of 2017 compared to the same period last year, according to a report from Radial’s eCommerce Fraud Technology Lab. Fraud also is up 30 percent year over year, the e-commerce company said.

“Our data adds another alarming statistic for retailers who may be unprepared to manage fraud activity in e-commerce,” said Stefan Weitz, chief product and strategy officer at Radial.

E-commerce fraud has spiked since EMV launched. Photo by Frank Polich/Getty Images)

“We know fraudsters won’t stop looking for opportunities to monetize their stolen data and will even automate this process once they have a card that appears to be working. This results in quick, large volume purchases that leave retailers vulnerable.  When retailers miss card testing, they’re contributing to future card attacks. Fighting card testing is complicated, but can stop millions of unanticipated fraud attacks if tracked and managed efficiently.”

Fraudsters are after anything that can be sold easily, from electronics to higher end clothing, he said.

Weitz said he talked one retailer in the third quarter last year and the merchant had been ignored by fraudsters. That changed in the fourth quarter when he was targeted repeatedly.

“He said he didn’t know what happened, but he went from not being bothered to being a pretty easy target. Some retailers and brands likely took a nontrivial hit on chargebacks and lost merchandise. We saw tens of thousands of dollars a day some of our merchants could have lost if we hadn’t caught the fraud.”

Radial saw testing drop off somewhat since mid-March which he thinks is because their systems have caused fraudsters to take their attacks elsewhere.