Fraud attempts vs biz rise


    Digital fraud attempts on consumer and businesses in the Philippines have significantly increased during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic as compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to a recent global consumer pulse study.

    TransUnion’s research showed 44 percent of Philippine consumers had been targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19 in the last three months.

    Gen Z – consumers with ages 19 to 26 years (born 1995-2002) – is the most targeted out of any generation at 48 percent, followed by the Millennials – ages 27 to 41 years (born 1980-1994) – at 42 percent.

    Consumers in the Philippines reportedt the top pandemic-themed scam is phishing with 40 percent.

    The TransUnion study also showed digital fraud attempts against businesses rose 31 percent from the pre-pandemic levels.

    TransUnion said its conclusions about fraud against businesses are based on intelligence from billions of transactions and more than 40,000 websites and apps contained in its flagship identity proofing, risk-based authentication and fraud analytics solution suite.

    It found that suspected fraudulent digital transaction attempts originating from the Philippines increased 31 percent when comparing March 2020 to March 2019, and from March 2020 when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic as compared to March 10, 2021.

    “Fraudsters are always looking to take advantage of significant world events. 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,” said Pia Arellano, TransUnion Philippines president and chief executive officer.

    “By analyzing billions of transactions, we screened for fraud indicators over the past year. It has become clear that the war against the virus has also brought about a war against digital fraud,” Arellano added.

    In the Philippines and across industries, TransUnion said the following areas had the highest suspected fraudulent transactions: Salcedo, Eastern Samar, Makati City and Manila.

    TransUnion also analyzed industries for a change in the percent of suspected digital fraud attempts against them, comparing the periods of March 2019 to March 2020 and from March 2020 to March 2021.

    Results showed a significant increase in attempted fraud from the Philippines against telecommunication companies – up by more than tenfold during the COVID-19 times.

    Although credit card fraud is not unusual for any retailer, fraudsters are now looking for ways to monetize their efforts and are using fraudulent credit cards to purchase high-end phones and then sell them on the black market.

    TransUnion documented a 19 percent growth in transactions among its global iGaming customers during 2020.

    “Fraud can have a potentially disastrous impact on a business’ and a consumer’s finances. In our increasingly digital economy, being able to spot fraudulent transactions whilst still providing genuine consumers with a great experience is a balancing act that organizations need to solve. By using the latest solutions, businesses can build trusted relationships and transact with confidence knowing they are safeguarding both themselves and the consumers they serve,” said Arellano.