If your shop wasn’t already the target, it might be now based on TransUnion’s latest quarterly analysis of global online fraud trends found that since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

TransUnion said fraudsters are increasing their rate of digital schemes against businesses. In addition, TransUnion’s recent Global Consumer Pulse Study found that more than one in three global consumers have recently been targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19.

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.

Analysts found the percent of suspected fraudulent digital transaction attempts against businesses worldwide increased 46% when comparing the following two periods: March 11, 2019 and March 10, 2020) as well as March 11, 2020 — when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic — and March 10 of this year.

In the U.S., this percentage increased 22% in the same timeframe, according to TransUnion.

“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 Shai Cohen, senior vice president of global fraud solutions at TransUnion.

“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,” Cohen continued in a news release.

Globally across industries, TransUnion found the countries with the highest rate of suspected fraudulent digital transactions during the pandemic (from March 11, 2020 to March 10, 2021) included:

1. The Seychelles
2. Kazakhstan
3. Turkmenistan

In the U.S. overall during that same time period, TransUnion discovered the cities with the highest percent of suspected fraudulent transactions included Tempe, Ariz., Hamtramck, Mich., and Colonial Park, Pa.

More details about consumers targeted by COVID-19 schemes

TransUnion’s Global Consumer Pulse Study also found that as of March 16 the 36% of consumers who said they are being targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19 in the last three months is higher than approximately one year ago.

In April of last year, TransUnion said 29% said they had been targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19. In the U.S., this percentage increased from 26% to 38% in the same timeframe.

Gen Z — individuals born from 1995 to 2002 — is currently the most targeted out of any generation at 42%, according to TransUnion. They are followed by millennials (37%).

Similarities were observed in the U.S. where Gen Z was most targeted at 53% followed by millennials at 40%.

“TransUnion documented a 21% increase in reported phishing attacks among consumers who were globally targeted with COVID-19-related digital fraud just from November 2020 to recently,” said Melissa Gaddis, senior director of customer success of global fraud solutions at TransUnion. “This revelation shows just how essential acquiring personal credentials are for carrying out any type of digital fraud.

“Consumers must be vigilant and businesses should assume all consumer information is available on the dark web and have alternatives to traditional password verification in place,” Gaddis continued.

For more details about TransUnion’s recent studies, go to this website.