Business study ranks Lexington high for online fraud

A study by a company that helps secure data on Web sites suggests Lexington sees more fraudulent online transactions than other cities its size.

The study by ThreatMetrix, which used data from the 5,000 Web sites that use its software, found Lexington had the 10th highest percentage of originating online fraud among 150 major cities.

Lexington ranked behind New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Omaha, Dallas, San Francisco, Houston and Washington D.C.

"It's kind of unusual," said Alisdair Faulkner, chief products officer of ThreatMetrix.

The company expected to see major cities at the top, as they're a "gold mine for cyber criminals that steal identities, passwords and credit cards," according to a statement.

Faulkner said Lexington's high ranking could be explained by a larger number of transactions coming from here for the Web sites used.

But it's also possible, he said, that criminals operating here benefit from the ease of shipping from the area "because once you've got something online, you want to be able to get rid of the goods," he said.

It could also be an effect of identity theft here with online fraud immediately following that.

"When data gets breached or when credit cards are breached, fraud will quickly follow," Faulkner said. "That's when you'll see proportionally higher use of that data.

"That could be another reason for Lexington being so high."