Fraud Hits Millennials, Telecommunications Industry Hard During Pandemic

Fraud Hits Millennials, Telecommunications Industry Hard During Pandemic

May 21, 2020

Suspected fraudulent digital transactions are up this quarter and millennials are the generation most targeted, according to new data from TransUnion.

The firm’s quarterly analysis of global online fraud trends found that the telecommunications, e-commerce and financial services industries have been increasingly impacted and suspected fraudulent digital transactions rose five percent from March 11 through April 28.

“Given the billions of people globally that have been forced to stay at home, industries have been disrupted in a way not seen on this massive of a scale for generations,” said Shai Cohen, senior vice president of Global Fraud & Identity Solutions at TransUnion. “Now that many transactions have shifted online, fraudsters have tried to take advantage and companies must adapt. Businesses that come out on top will be those leveraging fraud prevention tools that provide great detection rates and friction-right experiences for consumers.”

Comparing the periods of Jan. 1-March 10 and March 11-April 28, telecommunications companies saw the heaviest impact with a 76 percent increase in suspected fraud. E-commerce and financial services were the second and third most impacted with 12 and 11 percent increases, respectively. 

“Now that many transactions have shifted online, fraudsters have tried to take advantage and companies must adapt. Businesses that come out on top will be those leveraging fraud prevention tools that provide great detection rates and friction-right experiences for consumers.”

“Our data shows that as social distancing changes shopping patterns, fraudsters have taken notice and targeted the more digital-forward industries while following the money,” said Melissa Gaddis, senior director of customer success for Global Fraud & Identity Solutions at TransUnion. “For instance, although we found online gaming increased 64 percent as people stay home, it isn’t immediately lucrative to target those companies since financial information isn’t generally shared there. However, telecommunications, e-commerce and financial services all have large digital adoption, financial information and payments at the center of their online experience, and fared relatively well compared to other industries during the pandemic.”

TransUnion surveyed 9,215 adults in the U.S., Canada, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, South Africa and the U.K. during the week of April 13. Nearly three out of 10 respondents (29 percent) said they had been targeted by digital fraud related to Covid-19, with millennials (those persons between the ages 26-40) being the most targeted at 34 percent.

Globally across industries, TransUnion found the countries with the highest percent of suspected fraudulent transactions were: Yemen, Syria and Kazakhstan. In the U.S. overall, TransUnion found the cities with the highest percent of suspected fraudulent transactions were: Springfield, Mass., Akron, Ohio, and Louisville, Ky.

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