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Digital fraud from PH targets Gen Z, says TransUnion

The provisional results of TransUnion’s Global Consumer Pulse Study found that 44% of Philippine consumers said they have been targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19 in the last three months.  Image credit: TransUnion
Image credit: TransUnion

The provisional results of TransUnion’s Global Consumer Pulse Study found that 44% of Philippine consumers said they have been targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19 in the last three months. Gen Z (born 1995–2002) is currently the most targeted out of any generation at 48%. They are followed by Millennials (born 1980-1994) at 42%. The full results of the TransUnion Philippines Consumer Pulse Survey are set to be released this April.

“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. 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,” said TransUnion Philippines President and CEO Pia Arellano in a press statement.

Fighting digital fraud

Among consumers in the Philippines reporting being targeted with digital COVID-19 schemes, the top pandemic-themed scam is phishing with 40% saying they were targeted with it.

Meanwhile, fraudsters in the Philippines have been increasing their digital schemes against businesses since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

TransUnion came to its conclusions about fraud against businesses 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 — TransUnion TruValidate.

It found the percent of suspected fraudulent digital transaction attempts originated from the Philippines increased 31% when comparing the following two periods: Period #1 (March 11, 2019 and March 10, 2020); Period #2 (March 11, 2020 — when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic — and March 10, 2021).

In the Philippines across industries, TransUnion found the cities with the highest percent of suspected fraudulent transactions were:

  1. Salcedo, Eastern Samar
  2. Makati City
  3. Manila

Impact on industries

TransUnion analyzed the below industries for a change in the percent of suspected digital fraud attempts against them, comparing the periods of March 11, 2019-March 10, 2020 and March 11, 2020-March 10, 2021.

Suspected Digital Fraud Attempt Rate Post-Pandemic Declaration

IndustrySuspected fraud change coming from the PhilippinesGlobal suspected fraud change for industryTop type of fraud globally
Telecommunications1,108.14%57.52%Credit Card Fraud
Logistics81.53%4.87%Shipping Fraud
Financial Services38.77%57.49%Identity Theft
Communities (online dating, forums, etc.)7.64%-11.10%Profile Misrepresentation
Gambling-3.35%54.81%Policy/License Agreement Violations
Travel & Leisure-17.06%29.68%Credit Card Fraud
Gaming-28.71%48.40%Gold Farming
Retail-37.56%38.71%Promotion Abuse

Results showed a significant increase in attempted fraud from the Philippines against telecommunication companies. With more than a ten-fold increase (1,108%) this has been a significant development during COVID-19 times. Although credit card fraud isn’t 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.

“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,” Arellano said.

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