TransUnion is calling more attention to the increased fraud rate during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s latest report found that the volume of fraudulent transactions targeting international businesses went up 46 percent over the course of the past year. The comparable figure was 22 percent for businesses in the United States.
The figures are based on an analysis of the billions of transactions that were carried out under the protection of TransUnion’s TruValidate identity proofing and fraud prevention suite. More than 40,000 apps and websites are currently using the solution to mitigate financial crimes on their platforms. The report, meanwhile, compares the year that began on March 11, 2020, to the one that preceded it. March 11 marks the date that the World Health Organization officially declared that COVID-19 was a global pandemic.
The countries with the highest volume of fraudulent activity were the Seychelles, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, while Tempe, Arizona, Hamtramck, Michigan, and Colonial Park, Pennsylvania were the biggest hotbeds domestically. The telecommunications and financial services industries faced the biggest change in fraud rates (both around 57 percent), with gambling, retail, and insurance also experiencing significant jumps.
On the individual front, TransUnion’s Global Consumer Pulse Study found that 36 percent of people had been the target of a fraudulent attack in the past three months. The comparable figure was only 29 percent in April of 2020, in the early days of COVID-19. The increase was even more dramatic in the US, where the figures were 38 and 26 percent, respectively.
The fraudsters themselves were most likely to go after Gen Z and millennials. Phishing attacks were particularly common as cybercriminals tried to obtain people’s personal credentials.
“Fraudsters are always looking to take advantage of significant world events,” said TransUnion Global Fraud Solutions SVP Shai Cohen. “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.”
TransUnion has previously warned that there could be a potential spike in synthetic identity fraud in the wake of COVID-19. The company has also noted that businesses that want to thrive in a digital environment will need to offer more convenient payment experiences.
March 23, 2021 – by Eric Weiss