Personal Finance

Cyberfraud shifts to gaming, travel and leisure, report finds

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Key Points
  • As digital fraud attempts rise, cybercriminals are targeting the gaming and travel and leisure industries, according to a TransUnion report. 
  • While overall U.S. online fraud attempts climbed by 17.1% from the second quarter of 2020, gaming and travel and leisure saw triple-digit spikes.

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Kacper Pempel | Reuters

As digital fraud attempts on consumers and businesses rise, cybercriminals have shifted their focus from financial services to the gaming and travel and leisure industries.      

That's according to a report from credit reporting company TransUnion, analyzing global fraud during the second quarter of 2021. 

The report shows the overall rate of suspected online fraud attempts jumped by 16.5% worldwide compared with the same period in 2020, and U.S.-based incidents grew by a similar percentage, 17.1%.   

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However, the gaming and travel and leisure industries saw a much sharper increase, soaring to 393% and 155.9% globally over the past year, respectively. In the U.S., this rate spiked 261.9% for gaming and 136.6% for travel and leisure.

"What we are seeing has been fairly consistent since the pandemic started," said Melissa Gaddis, senior director of customer success, global fraud solutions at TransUnion. "People perpetuating fraud go to where the money is and go to where the opportunity lies."

It's common for online criminals to shift from one industry to another, particularly in sectors seeing a higher volume of transactions, the report said. 

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During the second quarter of 2021, many countries emerged from Covid lockdowns, sparking greater demand for travel and leisure activities.

"People are spending more, which gives fraudsters an opportunity to take advantage," said Gaddis.

The gaming industry has also become an easy target as the market continues to grow.

Moreover, 1 in 3 consumers said they were targets of Covid-related fraud schemes, and 33% of those preyed upon said they fell victim to the attempts.

It's important for people to know that if they do fall victim to a scam, they aren't alone.
Melissa Gaddis
Senior director of customer success, global fraud solutions at TransUnion

Phishing has been the No. 1 issue, followed by stolen credit cards and fraudulent charges. 

Consumers using mobile apps may help protect themselves by manually entering passwords versus relying on the ease of automatic sign-ins, Gaddis said. 

Multifactor authentication adds another layer of login security by making users enter another code received via text message or app. 

"It's important for people to know that if they do fall victim to a scam, they aren't alone," Gaddis said. "It takes all of us to really be vigilant to help fight it."

TransUnion monitors online fraud attempts reported by businesses across a variety of industries, such as gaming, financial services, travel and leisure, health care, insurance, retail and gambling.

The report bases its findings on billions of transactions from more than 40,000 websites and apps in TruValidate, the company's identity proofing, risk-based authentication and fraud analytics software.