Thursday, February 29, 2024

Digital fraud cases see surge since COVID outbreak: Report

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NEW DELHI, April 30: Cases of digital fraud have been skyrocketing, particularly in the Northeastern and eastern region since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, credit bureau TransUnion said in a report on Thursday. The report is based on its latest quarterly analysis of global online fraud trends.
Start-up TrustCheckr said that 41 per cent of digital frauds in India occurred in the eastern region. TransUnion came to its conclusion about fraud against businesses based on intelligence from billions of transactions and more than 40,000 global websites and apps contained in its fraud analytics solution suite. These websites and apps have traffic coming from all countries.
The bureau found that the percentage of suspected fraudulent digital transaction attempts against businesses originating from India increased 28.32 per cent when comparing the period between March 11, 2019, and March 10, 2020, with the period between March 11, 2020, and March 10, 2021. “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 unrivalled in the online age,” said Shaleen Srivastava, executive vice president and head of fraud solutions at TransUnion in India. By analysing billions of transactions globally, TransUnion screened for fraud indicators over the past year, and this revealed that the war against the virus has also brought about a war against digital fraud, he added.
TrustCheckr, in its report, said that the most number of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) scams take place on payment apps and market places. As much as 41 per cent of fraud distribution accounted for by West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Assam, Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim. The top frauds cases are involved with KYC, fake cash-back, frauds through digital wallets, fake-selling, QR codes, UPI phishing, lottery scams and financial fraud on social media. “Insights into the survey reveal that the top scammers were from Patna, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Meerut for one of the top payment apps at 15 per cent. Most QR code scams originate from Assam, accounting for 20 per cent of the total distribution,” TrustCheckr said.
The company observed that many fraudster profiles claimed to be army men. This was most likely the result of border clashes between India and China due to which there was an upsurge in patriotic sentiments among the general public and the fraudsters looked to cash in on the sentiment by playing the emotional card.
In QR code frauds, most fraudsters posed as army men selling something on marketplaces. With the pandemic having pushed people to lean further towards contactless payments, a lack of awareness and vulnerabilities in confidential card details are increasing digital frauds.
TrustCheckr identified over one million frauds together in business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) segments in the last 15 months – 25% scams in KYC and 20 per cent in QR codes, while B2B scams were largely done with 30% fake identities and 25% synthetic identity frauds. TrustCheckr’s findings are based on 350,000 data points collected from top hashtags, 200+ Twitter handles, partner data shared over last 12 months and its proprietary social scanning technology.

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