Fraudsters in Hong Kong Shift Focus at Mid-Point of 2021 from Logistic to Communities and Gaming
TransUnion analyzes Hong Kong digital fraud trends through June 30, 2021
As the prevalence of digital fraud attempts on businesses and consumers continues to rise, TransUnion’s (NYSE: TRU) newest quarterly analysis found that online fraudsters in Hong Kong are re-focusing their efforts from logistics to the communities (online dating, forums, etc.) and gaming industries.
Across industries, the rate of suspected digital fraud attempts rose 16.5% globally when comparing Q2 2021 (April 1 - June 30, 2021) to Q2 2020 (April 1 - June 30, 2020). For transactions coming from Hong Kong, the percentage of suspected digital fraud attempts increased at a much higher rate of 62.4% during the same time period. Communities and gaming were the industries with the largest suspected digital fraud attempt rate increase for transactions originating from Hong Kong, rising 333.3% and 205.6% from Q2 2020 to Q2 2021, respectively.
TransUnion monitors digital fraud attempts reported by businesses in varied industries such as gambling, gaming, financial services, healthcare, insurance, retail and travel and leisure, among others. The conclusions are 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™.
“It is quite common for fraudsters to shift their focus every few months from one industry to another,” said Jerry Ying, TransUnion APAC’s chief products officer. “Fraudsters tend to seek out industries that may be seeing an immense growth in transactions. In Q2 2021, as the city gradually recovers from the pandemic, and people start to increase discretionary expenses, communities and gaming activities became more mainstream, fraudsters clearly made these industries top targets. The immense growth in these frauds also can be attributed to the shifts in focus of fraudsters as these growing markets become a larger target.”
An example of the sudden shift in focus of fraudsters can be seen in logistics. The online fraud attempt rate for transactions coming from Hong Kong had risen 199.4% when comparing the periods of March 11, 2019 to March 10, 2020 and March 11, 2020 to March 10, 2021. When comparing Q2 2021 and Q2 2020, the rate of suspected online logistic fraud attempts coming from Hong Kong had still risen, but at a much lower rate of 3.5%.
Year-over-Year Suspected Digital Fraud Attempt Rate Increases and Declines in Q2 2021
Percentage Change Coming from Hong Kong
Top Type of Fraud Globally
Communities (online dating, forums, etc.)
Travel & Leisure
Credit Card Fraud
Policy/License Agreement Violations
True Identity Theft
Source: TransUnion’s quarterly analysis of global online fraud trends
More than one-third of consumers continue to be targeted by COVID-19 related digital fraud
As online fraud attempts against businesses continue to escalate, more than one-third of consumers stated that they have been targeted by a digital fraud scheme related to COVID-19 during the second quarter of 2021. TransUnion’s Consumer Pulse study in June 2021 found that approximately 37% of Hong Kong survey respondents said they were targeted by fraudsters in COVID-19 related digital schemes.
Phishing continued to be the most common type of COVID-19 related digital fraud impacting Hong Kong consumers in Q2 2021. Among Hong Kong consumers who say they were targeted with COVID-19-related digital fraud, 34% state they have been targeted by or fallen victim to such fraud. Stolen credit card or fraudulent charges was the second most cited type of COVID-19 related online fraud among those targeted, affecting Hong Kong consumers at 22%. Additionally, the younger generations appear to be in the crosshairs of fraudsters the most, with 40% of Gen Z saying they’d been targeted with digital fraud related to COVID-19.
“One in three people in Hong Kong have been targeted by or fallen victim to digital fraud during the pandemic, placing even more pressure on businesses to ensure their customers are confident in transacting with them,” said Ying. “As fraudsters continue to target consumers, it’s incumbent on businesses to do all that they can to ensure their customers have an appropriate level of security to trust their transaction is safe all while having a friction-right experience to avoid shopping cart abandonment.”
 The percent or rate of suspected or risky fraudulent digital transaction attempts are based on those that TransUnion customers receiving TruValidate services have either denied or reviewed due to fraudulent indicators compared to all transactions it assessed for fraud