Those who commit fraud for a living are notoriously willing to shift targets and tactics. If the focus of their efforts begins to adapt to their attacks, they simply change the way they attack or look for easier marks. At the midpoint of 2021, that ability has manifested itself in a general move away from defrauding telecom and financial services companies and toward the travel & leisure sector and gaming (both the video and gambling versions), according to an analysis from TransUnion.
In its regular quarterly analysis of digital fraud trends, the Chicago-based data aggregator and credit bureau said attacks directed at telecom companies in Q2 2021 decreased by 60 percent compared to the same period in 2020, while attacks on the travel & leisure sector—in the midst of rebuilding from devastating Covid travel restrictions—increased by 47 percent. Credit card fraud, said TransUnion, is the major type of fraud travel companies are facing right now.
“It is quite common for fraudsters to shift their focus every few months from one industry to another,” said Shai Cohen, senior vice president of Global Fraud Solutions at TransUnion. “Fraudsters tend to seek out industries that may be seeing an immense growth in transactions. This 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 gaming fraud also can be attributed to the shifts in focus of fraudsters as this growing market becomes a larger target.”
Global fraud rates for gaming and travel and leisure companies rose 393 percent and nearly 156 percent in the last year, respectively. In the U.S., the fraud rate rose 261.9 percent for gaming and 136.6 percent for travel and leisure.