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Forecast: Shifts will likely lead to more holiday hires

BY Marianne Wilson

Retailers and logistics companies are gearing up for a huge shopping season in light of a solid economy and high consumer confidence, which translates into more jobs added for seasonal hiring.

That’s according to a forecast from global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. It was released the same day that Target announced it will increase its holiday hiring by 20%.

“Retailers have been aggressively hiring seasonal workers since July to combat the tight job market, said Andrew Challenger, VO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “This holiday season will be a good time for workers who have had trouble finding employment or those who are discouraged or marginally attached to the labor force, as retail, transport, and warehousing jobs will be plentiful.”

Last year, seasonal retail employment increased by 668,400 during the final three months of the year, 4.3% higher than in 2017, according to employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Seasonal jobs are no longer in retail alone.

“With the rise of online shopping, transport and warehousing companies are also looking for seasonal workers,” said Challenger. “We’ve seen this trend over the last few years.”

Last year, BLS data showed that transportation and warehousing employment increased by a non-seasonally adjusted 279,700, up 13.4% from the 246,700 workers in the final quarter of 2017 and 6.6% higher than the 262,300 workers hired in this sector in the final three months of 2016.

The tight labor market will present a challenge to retailers’ holiday hiring plans.

“Retailers will have to offer competitive compensation or other perks to attract the workers needed for this holiday season,” said Challenger. “Already, we have seen some retailers offering discounted merchandise or special shopping days for their employees,” said Challenger. He noted that Kohl’s announced it was offering 15% discounts and “associate shopping days” for the seasonal workers they hired this summer.

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Target ups holiday hiring for stores by 20%

BY Marianne Wilson

Target Corp. isn’t taking any chances for the upcoming holiday season.

The discounter plans to hire approximately 120,000 seasonal associates to work in its 1,839 stores across the U.S., which is a 20% increase over last year. It will also offer current store associates the chance to work extra hours.

In addition, Target plans to hire 7,500 seasonal associates for its distribution and fulfillment centers to replenish product to stores and fulfill online orders. The chain revealed its holiday hiring plans the day after Macy’s announced it will hire 80,000 seasonal workers as it looks to a “strong and successful” holiday shopping season.

“Coming off a strong second quarter, we’re anticipating a busy holiday season and want to make sure we have the right teams in place across all of our stores and distribution and fulfillment centers to deliver an exceptional experience for our guests,” stated Janna Potts, Target’s chief stores officer.

Target noted that, as of Sept. 16, it will offer a minimum hourly wage starting at $12 an hour to all associates, including seasonal hires. And new this year, the chain will award one hourly team member in each of its stores and distribution centers the chance to donate $500 to the local community organization of their choice — along with a $500 Target GiftCard for themselves.

Target will host its third annual seasonal hiring events on Friday, Oct. 12 through Sunday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. local time at every Target store.

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New data reveals sharp rise in mobile fraud attacks

BY Marianne Wilson

Consumers are increasingly embracing mobile for online goods and services, and fraudsters are moving in fast for a piece of the action.

New cybercrime insights from the first half of 2018 released by ThreatMetrix, a LexisNexis Risk Solutions Company, reveal a sharp rise in fraud attack levels on mobile transactions. The findings are based on the analysis of 17.6 billion digital transactions on the ThreatMetrix digital identity network during the first half the year.

Mobile transactions, which include account creations, logins and payments, reached 58% of all online traffic by the middle of 2018, according to ThreatMetrix’s “Q2 2018 Cybercrime Report.” Globally, 2018 mobile attack rates rose 24% in the first half of 2018 compared to the year-ago period. In the United States, however, mobile attack rates experienced a far higher growth rate of 44% for the same period.

The rise of mobile is undisputedly the key change agent in digital commerce, the report noted. In the last three years the proportion of mobile transactions versus desktop has almost tripled.

Globally, one third of all fraud attacks are now targeting mobile transactions. This means that although digital companies do need to prepare for increasing attacks, mobile remains the more secure channel compared to desktop.

Mobile offers organizations unique opportunities for accurately assessing user identity, thanks to highly personalized device attributes, geo-location and behavioral analysis, according to ThreatMetrix. It offers strong customer authentication options that require no user intervention, including cryptographically binding devices for persistent authentication (“Strong ID”).

“Mobile is quickly becoming the predominant way people access online goods and services, and as a result organizations need to anticipate that the barrage of mobile attacks will only increase,” said Alisdair Faulkner, chief identity officer at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “The good news is that as mobile usage continues to increase, so too does overall customer recognition rates, as mobile apps offer a wealth of techniques to authenticate returning customers with a very high degree of accuracy.”

The key point of vulnerability for mobile is at the app registration and account creation stage, according to Faulkner.

“To verify users at this crucial point, organizations need to tap into global intelligence that assesses true digital identity, compiled from the multiple channels that their customers transact on,” he added.

Throughout the first half of 2018 there was an unprecedented spike in the volume of bot attacks targeting digital transactions worldwide. The ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network registered a 60% spike in bot attacks in the second quarter of the year, increasing from 1 billion bot attacks in the first quarter to 1.6 billion in the second quarter.

Large retailers are the primary targets as fraudsters attempt to infiltrate good user accounts and access sensitive personal data and saved credit card information. A total of 170 million bot attacks came from mobile devices in the first half of 2018.

The bot traffic predominantly originated from locations such as Vietnam and South Korea, illustrating the global trend of stolen identity data disseminating to growth regions and emerging economies.

Social networks and dating websites have the highest mobile footprint of all industries, reaching 85% of total transactions and 88% of account creations by the middle of 2018. Given these sites’ often modest security requirements, attack rates are high as hackers use these platforms to test stolen identity credentials, as well as to steal sensitive personal data via account takeovers.

“Social networks are at risk of becoming a gateway to further organized crime”, said Rebekah Moody, director of fraud and identity at ThreatMetrix. “Identity data is arguably as valuable a currency online as hard cash.”

Other highlights from ThreatMetrix Q2 2018 Cybercrime Report include:

• Fifty-four percent of all e-commerce transactions are now cross-border, which is much higher than other markets, and emphasizes the industry’s increasingly global footprint.

• Cross border e-commerce transactions are 69% more likely to be rejected as fraudulent, however, demonstrating the challenge of accepting overseas commerce.

• Twenty-five percent of new e-commerce account applications are fraudulent, a 130% increase compared to the same period last year.

• China appears on the top five cybercrime attackers list for the first time ever.

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