TransUnion’s latest quarterly analysis of global online fraud trends found since the COVID-19 pandemic began, fraudster threats against businesses have increased by 46%. In addition, our latest Global Consumer Pulse Study found more than one in three global consumers have recently been targeted by digital fraud.
“Fraudsters are always looking to take advantage of significant world events. The COVID-19 pandemic and its corresponding rapid digital acceleration brought about by stay-at-home orders is a global event unrivaled in the online age,” explains Shai Cohen, Senior Vice President of Global Fraud Solutions at TransUnion. “By analyzing billions of transactions, we screened for fraud indicators over the past year, and it’s become clear the war against the virus has also brought about a war against digital fraud.”
In the US, certain industries like financial services, gambling and telecommunications have become increasingly attractive to fraudsters as digital services are used more. On the other hand, community platforms like dating sites have become less appealing to online criminals as consumers change behavior according to lockdown precautions and reduced opportunities for social interaction.
Data intelligence points to an uplift in suspected digital fraud against businesses
TransUnion’s global fraud insights are based on intelligence from billions of transactions — and more than 40,000 websites and apps — detected using TransUnion TruValidate™, our identity proofing, risk-based authentication and fraud analytics solution suite.
We found suspected fraudulent digital transaction attempts1 against businesses worldwide increased 46% when comparing the periods of March 11, 2019–March 10, 2020 and March 11, 2020 (when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic) to March 10, 2021. In the US, this percentage increased 22% in the same period.
Globally across industries, TransUnion found the countries with the highest rate of suspected fraudulent transactions during the pandemic (from March 11, 2020 to March 10, 2021) were: (1) the Seychelles, (2) Kazakhstan, and (3) Turkmenistan.
In the US overall during that same time period, TransUnion found the cities with the highest percent of suspected fraudulent transactions were: (1) Tempe, AZ, (2) Hamtramck, MI, and (3) Colonial Park, PA.
Fraud types and their impact on industries