TransUnion: Fraud Rose Nearly 17% Globally As Internet Use Grows

TransUnion’s latest quarterly fraud analysis shows that cyber criminals have shifted their focus from targeting financial services to gaming, travel and leisure industries. 

The data shows that the overall rate of suspected digital fraud attempts rose 16.5% globally in second-quarter 2021, compared with the year-ago quarter. Fraudsters increasingly use and capitalize on the COVID-19 pandemic to scam people.

Digital fraud related to the pandemic remains the focus, with 39% of consumers stating that they have been targeted — nearly the same, at 38%, as in first-quarter 2021. The data shows that 47% of Gen Z and 43% of Millennials are the most frequently targeted.

Shai Cohen, senior vice president of Global Fraud Solutions at TransUnion, told Search & Performance Marketing Daily that analysts are not surprised at the rise of fraud when comparing with the year-ago quarter because of the increase in disposable income.

“Digital transactions are maintaining a higher level even though businesses have begun to open, because of the convenience,” she said. “A colleague says he will never walk into a grocery store again, because he loves online grocery shopping.”

Fraudsters have shifted their focus from government assistance scams — unemployment insurance and stimulus checks — to more direct attacks on consumer accounts. Consumers reported a 63% increase in fake insurance, a 56% increase in shipping fraud, and a 50% increase in someone changing their account details compared to the first quarter.

TransUnion’s COVID-19’s current and future impact on household budgets, spending and debt U.S. Q2 2021 report explores how consumers’ personal finances have been impacted by the pandemic. The study measures changing consumer attitudes and behavior based on the dynamics of income, debt and identity theft. The analyses and insights inform decision-making to empower consumers and help businesses create economic opportunity for consumers.

Gaming and travel and leisure were the two most heavily impacted industries globally for the suspected digital fraud attempt rate — with increases of 393% and 156% in the last year, respectively. In the U.S., this rate rose 262% for gaming and 137% for travel and leisure.  

The most frequent fraud scams include phishing at 35%, stolen credit cards at 31%, identity theft at 17%, third-party seller scams at 16%, and charity and fundraising at 15% are the top five.

The online survey of 3,027 adults was conducted between May 24 and June 1, 2021 by TransUnion in partnership with third-party research provider Qualtrics Research-Services. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the United States were surveyed using an online research panel.

Some of the data was based on intelligence gleaned from billions of transactions and more than 40,000 websites and apps contained in its flagship platform.

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