New Study: Digital Fraud Rising during Pandemic

An Atlanta digital security firm’s annual fraud report says the nation’s growing dependence on online work, shopping, business and communication because of COVID-19 also led to surges in digital fraud.

“With consumers confined to their homes and forced to venture online, it stands to reason that companies saw dramatic increases in online and mobile transactions. Nonetheless, just as regular individuals themselves used online and mobile at greater scale to conduct business and interactions, criminals used those same channels to commit fraud,” IDology’s 8th annual report says.

The company’s report is based on an October survey of 314 business executives, managers and analysts.

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Most companies surveyed saw significant percentages of business shift to digital channels. One-third of them said that half or more of their business went digital after March of 2020, as many Americans tried new ways to do everything from purchase groceries to communicate with coworkers or families with software such as Zoom.

Criminals took advantage of the online flow to do everything from hack voicemails to reproduce SIM cards for phones, siphon false payments and open false credit card accounts.

The report estimates that 84 million Americans received a phishing attempt during the pandemic and that 56 million Americans had a false bank or credit card account opened in their name in the 12 months prior to the survey.

The theft of personal information to open new accounts was at an all-time high, with 43% of companies seeing an increase, compared with 40% in 2019.

Sixty-nine percent of companies reported an increase in year-over-year fraud attempts. Only 14% reported a decrease in fraud attempts, while 18% reported that it stayed the same.

The industries reporting the highest increases in attempts were insurance, 75%; banking, 68%; and e-commerce, 66%.

A different report from last October noted that Atlanta is a center for email fraud… Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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