Online Fraudsters Scramble to Keep up with COVID-19 Changes

Online Fraudsters Scramble to Keep up with COVID-19 Changes

September 9, 2020         Written By Heaven Speirs

Stores aren’t the only ones scrambling to keep up with COVID-19 changes. Fraudsters are equally frazzled about finding ways to target their victims.

According to TransUnion, online fraud against businesses has dropped 9% since the beginning of the pandemic (March 11-May 18 vs. May 19-July 25). This is most likely the result of businesses reopening, creating a shift from online shopping back to in-person shopping.

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Conversely, a TransUnion survey found COVID-19 related fraud targetting consumers has increased 10% from April 13 to July 27. Consumers were asked to describe their experience with digital fraud attempts related to the pandemic. The youngest generation, Gen Z, reported the highest level of fraud damage. Sixteen percent of Gen Z respondents said they had responded to a COVID-19 scheme and are now the victim of fraud. Comparatively, only 11% of Millennials, 7% of Gen Xers, and 2% of Baby Boomers have been a victim of COVID-19 fraud.

What Are COVID-19 Fraud Schemes?

Phishing schemes are the most popular fraud attempts related to COVID-19. In this case, fraudsters send an email or text asking a user to log into their account, perhaps to change their password or dispute a suspected error. The link redirects to a fake website where fraudsters collect the login information. This information is often stored and used at a later time for identity theft.

Fraudsters Target the Travel Industry amidst COVID-19 Outbreak

TransUnion examined fraud changes in each industry. They found that travel and leisure businesses were hit the hardest from the beginning of the outbreak to late July. In that time, travel-related businesses saw a 47% increase in fraud, mostly in the form of credit card fraud. Melissa Gaddis from the Global Fraud Solutions department at TransUnion said, “It appears fraudsters assume travel & leisure companies are scrutinizing transactions less in order to capture more revenue as the pandemic continues to severely negatively impact their business.”

On the flip side, the telecommunications industry now has significantly less fraud to worry about. Fraud reports dropped by 60% between Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the pandemic, and the healthcare industry experienced an 18% drop in the same timeframe. Fraudsters are shifting their strategies to keep up with changing times.

Consumers Remain Worried about Paying Bills during the Pandemic

In these uncertain times, consumers are still not confident about paying their bills from month to month. Fifty-seven percent of consumers say they have been financially impacted by the pandemic, and another 7% expect to be impacted in the future. Of those who have been affected, 77% said they’re concerned about paying their bills and loans at this time. This is similar to a recent study from Finicity, which found that 64% of impacted consumers are worried about paying bills.

Consumers were most concerned about how to cover their credit card bills, even more than their utilities, phone payments, or rent payments. If you are also worried about credit card bills, talk to your credit card company about forbearance programs. You may be able to have your interest waived or receive a lower minimum payment until your income is restored. If you cannot pay extra toward your credit card right now, that’s alright! Focus on making your minimum payments on time each month to keep your credit in good standing.

For more tips about money management during COVID-19, check out How to Set a Monthly Budget, Credit Card Tips after Losing Your Job, and How to Prepare for the Long-Term Financial Impact of COVID-19.

 

The information contained within this article was accurate as of September 9, 2020. For up-to-date information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website. Many of the offers on this article are from our affiliate partners, and LowCards.com may be compensated if you take action with any of our affiliate partners.

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heaven

About Heaven Speirs

Heaven Speirs is a contributing writer for LowCards.com. She remains up-to-date with the latest developments in the credit card industry and the financial sector as a whole. Heaven has over 10 years of experience in online journalism, the bulk of which has been focused on personal finance. Heaven attended Oklahoma State University, where she discovered her talent for research and content creation. In her spare time, Heaven enjoys painting, playing poker, and spending time with her husband and three dogs.