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Fraudsters in India Shift Focus from Financial Services to Travel and Leisure

In Business
September 28, 2021

As the prevalence of digital fraud attempts on businesses and consumers continues to rise globally, TransUnion’s (NYSE: TRU) newest quarterly analysis found that fraudsters in India are re-focusing their efforts from financial services to the travel and leisure, communities (online forums) and logistics industries.

Across industries, the rate of suspected digital fraud attempts 1 rose 16.5% globally when comparing Q2 2021 to Q2 2020. However, for transactions coming from India the percentage of digital fraud attempts decreased at a rate of 49.20% during the same time period. When comparing Q2 2021 to Q2 2022, gaming and travel and leisure were the two most impacted industries globally for the suspected digital fraud attempt rate, rising 393.0% and 155.9% in the last year, respectively. For transactions originating in India when comparing these same time periods, this rate rose 53.97% for gaming and 269.72%% for travel and leisure.

TransUnion monitors digital fraud attempts reported by businesses in varied industries such as gambling, gaming, financial services, healthcare, insurance, retail and travel and leisure, among others. The conclusions 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 – TransUnion TruValidate™. These websites and apps have traffic coming from countries across the globe, including India.

“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 growth in communities and gaming fraud also can be attributed to the shifts in focus of fraudsters as these growing markets become a larger target.”

An example of the sudden shift in focus of fraudsters can be seen in financial services. Global financial services online fraud attempt rates had risen 149% when comparing the first four months of 2021 and the last four months of 2020. However when comparing Q2 2021 and Q2 2020, the rate of suspected online financial services fraud attempts have still risen globally, but at a much lower rate of 18.8% globally. When comparing those two periods for transactions coming from India that rate has declined by 15.35%, indicating stronger fraud control measures being adopted by the financial services industry.

“The pandemic accelerated community (i.e. online dating) and online retail transactions which require logistics and fraudsters have recognized this. In India post the unlocks, travel and leisure has increasingly become a target as the industry recovers and fraudsters are looking to capitalize as more transactions return to this industry,” added Shai. “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.”