New global research by TransUnion shows that online fraud in South Africa has increased exponentially since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic – compared to March 2020 through March 2021.
In addition, the Consumer Credit Reporting Office’s Global Consumer Pulse Study found that 37% of South African consumers were recently affected by digital fraud related to Covid-19.
TransUnion’s corporate fraud findings are based on intelligence from billions of transactions and more than 40,000 websites and apps.
The investigation found that the percentage of suspected fraudulent digital transaction attempts against companies originating in South Africa increased by 43.62% compared to the periods between March 2019, 2020 and 2021.
“Scammers are always trying to take advantage of major world events. The Covid-19 pandemic and the associated rapid digital acceleration through lockdowns are a global event that is unparalleled in the online age, “said Keith Wardell, Product Director at TransUnion Africa.
“By analyzing billions of transactions that we screened for fraud indicators over the past year, it became clear that the war on the virus sparked a war on digital fraud as well.”
In South Africa, TransUnion found across industries that Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria were the cities in that order with the highest percentage of suspected fraudulent digital transactions against their originated companies.
Consumers Affected by Covid-19 Programs
Preliminary results from TransUnion’s latest Global Consumer Pulse Study – a survey of more than 10,000 consumers worldwide, including 910 in South Africa from March 5 to 17, 2021 – found that 37% of South African consumers said they had spoken to them Covid-19-related digital fraud in the past three months is higher than it was about a year ago.
In April 2020, 25% said they had been affected by digital fraud related to Covid-19.
Among South Africa consumers who report being targeted with Covid-19 digital programs The main pandemic program is unemployment fraud29% said they were affected.
Suspected digital fraud attempts after the pandemic
TransUnion analyzed a number of industries for a change in the percentage of alleged digital fraud attempts against them during the aforementioned period.
“The pandemic has changed the habits of South African and global consumers to shop and entertain online more than ever, which has also attracted digital scammers who are increasingly targeting related industries,” said Wardell.
“Despite these threats, consumers expect businesses to be able to protect their transactions while still maintaining convenient digital experiences.”
“The challenge for most business leaders is the lack of information to reliably and continuously assess their company’s vulnerability to corruption and reputational risk,” said George Nicholls, co-founder of Corporate Insights.
“Organizations need to be quick and proactive in categorizing and assessing risk across the enterprise and lowering the cost of fraud detection by reducing reliance on often costly traditional solutions.”
“With all of these factors contributing to the rise in digital fraud, the war is certainly not over. Automated lifestyle assessment using the latest techniques and technologies in terms of advanced analytics, data, intelligence and machine learning enables us to stay one step ahead of the scammers, ”said Nicholls.
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