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Fraudsters shift from financial services to gambling, leisure

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 26 Aug 2021
Lee Naik, CEO of TransUnion SA.
Lee Naik, CEO of TransUnion SA.

Fraudsters are shifting their attentions from financial services to the gambling, travel and leisure, and communities industries.

This was revealed by Transunion’s most recent quarterly analysis, that also showed that the rate of suspected digital fraud attempts rose 16.5% globally when comparing Q2 2021 to Q2 2020.

Gambling, and travel and leisure were the two most affected industries around the world when it came to digital fraud attempts, rising 393% and 156% respectively when comparing the two periods.

For transactions coming from SA, the overall percentage of digital fraud attempts dropped by 12.3% during the same time frame, although the online gambling industry saw a whopping 922.7% growth in the rate of suspected digital fraud attempts, with travel and leisure seeing a 264.2% rise.

TransUnion monitors digital fraud attempts reported by businesses in a range of industries including gambling, financial services, healthcare, insurance, retail and travel and leisure, and more.

The conclusions are based on intelligence from billions of transactions and over 40 000 Web sites and apps contained in its identity proofing, risk-based authentication and fraud analytics solution suite, TruValidate.

Following the crowds

According to Shai Cohen, senior vice president of Global Fraud Solutions at TransUnion, it is fairly common for crooks to turn their attentions every couple of months from one industry to another.

He says they go where the crowds are, targeting industries that are seeing an vast growth in transactions.

“his quarter, as countries began to open up more from their COVID-19 lockdowns and travel and other leisure activities became more mainstream, fraudsters clearly made this industry a top target. The immense growth in gambling fraud also can be attributed to the shifts in focus of fraudsters as this growing market becomes a larger target.”

He cites global financial services online fraud attempt rates as an example, saying these have risen 149% when comparing the first four months of 2021 and the last four months of 2020. “But when comparing Q2 2021 and Q2 2020, the rate of suspected online financial services fraud attempts rose at a much lower rate of 18.8% globally, and actually decreased by 54.6% coming from South Africa.”

COVID-19 schemes

In addition, TransUnion revealed that one in three consumers said that they were targeted by fraud scheme related to COVID-19 during the second quarter of 2021. The company’s Consumer Pulse study in June this year found that around 36% of global survey respondents claimed to have been targeted in COVID-19 related schemes. In SA, 41% made the same claim.

Lee Naik, CEO of TransUnion SA, says digital fraud during the pandemic has put businesses under pressure to ensure their customers are confident in transacting with them.

“As fraudsters continue to target consumers, it’s incumbent on businesses to do all that they can to ensure their customers have an appropriate level of security to trust their transaction is safe all while having a friction-right experience to avoid shopping cart abandonment,” says Naik.