More Than One in 20 Global Digital Transactions were Suspected Fraudulent in the First Half of 2023; In Hong Kong, Highest Fraud Rate in Travel & Leisure Industry

Findings based on proprietary insights from TransUnion’s global intelligence network

As consumers and businesses continue to use digital transactions as a way to engage in commerce, fraudsters are increasingly using them for their own benefit. A new TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) analysis finds that suspected global digital fraud is up in the first half of 2023 (H1 2023), and while retail and video gaming were among the most targeted industries globally during that timeframe, digital fraud affected all businesses.1&2

In H1 2023, the global suspected digital fraud rate stood at 5.3%, up 18% when comparing to the same period in 2022. The volume of global digital fraud attempts increased 27% during that same time period. When the consumer is located in Hong Kong during the transaction, the suspected digital fraud attempt rate stood at 18.3% in H1 2023 – the highest among all markets and regions studied. The volume mirrored this rise, with a 57% increase in suspected digital fraud attempts originating from Hong Kong in H1 2023 compared to the same period last year. 2

Highest Suspected Digital Fraud Attempt Rate in Retail Globally, in Travel & Leisure for Transactions from Hong Kong

Retail, video gaming and telecommunications saw the highest rates of suspected digital fraud globally among industries analysed at 10.6%, 7.0% and 5.3% in H1 2023. Looking at sectors from a global digital transaction growth perspective, gaming (online sports betting, poker, etc.) stands out, showing an increase in total transactions of 85% from H1 2022 to H1 2023. Across the world, insurance and logistics were the industries with the lowest suspected digital fraud attempt rate in H1 2023.2

For transactions originating from Hong Kong, travel & leisure, and communities (online dating, forums, etc.) had the highest suspected digital fraud attempt rate among industries analyzed in H1 2023 at 8.1% and 4.8% respectively. With travel resuming, it’s not surprising that TransUnion found the travel & leisure industry saw the largest growth in the number of digital transactions from Hong Kong with a 243% increase from H1 2022 to H1 2023. 2

“It’s not enough to look at fraud rates alone when attempting to measure the impact of digital fraud on any one particular industry or another,” said Jerry Ying, chief product officer at TransUnion Asia Pacific. “There are other factors that need to be taken into consideration. These include the overall size of the industry in question, in addition to if the aforementioned industry is growing and if so, how quickly. Only then can one endeavor to develop a more comprehensive perspective on how digital fraud is impacting these industries. In addition, this can help projecting where fraudsters may be focusing their efforts moving forward.”

Travel & Leisure Saw the Greatest Suspected Digital Fraud Attempt Rate and YoY Growth in Digital Transactions Coming from Hong Kong

IndustrySuspected digital fraud attempt rate coming from Hong Kong H1 2023Global suspected digital fraud attempt rate H1 2023Change in number of digital transactions coming from Hong Kong H1 2022 to H1 2023Change in number of global transactions H1 2022 to H1 2023
Travel & leisure





Communities (online dating, forums, etc.)





Financial services




















Source: TransUnion TruValidate™ data

38% of Hong Kong Consumers Report Having Been Targeted by Fraud

This new TransUnion analysis comes on the heels of its recent Q3 Hong Kong Consumer Pulse Study which explored, among other things, consumer awareness of being targeted by any online, email, phone call or text messaging fraud attempts in the last three months. The TransUnion survey of 973 Hong Kong adults was conducted between 10-19 July.

The survey revealed that 32% of respondents indicated that they had been targeted by fraud but did not become a victim of it, and 6% had been targeted and fell victim. Among those targeted, vishing (fraudulent phone calls meant to trick people into revealing data), at 34%, was the most frequent fraud scheme by which they reported being attacked, followed by phishing (fraudulent emails, websites, social posts, QR codes, etc. meant to steal data) at 31% and smishing (fraudulent text messages meant to trick you into revealing data) at 29%.3

“The increasing acceptance of digital services and prevalence of spam calls has significantly contributed to the growth in fraud loss. As consumers rely more on online platforms, they have higher expectations for businesses to protect them from fraudulent activities and proactively identify suspicious accounts. In response, businesses regardless of their industry shall allocate sufficient resources towards enhancing their data, analytics, and technological capabilities to identify potential fraud in a more accurate and efficient manner,” added Ying.

TransUnion came to its digital fraud findings based on intelligence from its identity and fraud product suite, TransUnion TruValidate, which helps secure trust across channels and delivers efficient consumer experiences. The rate or percentage of suspected digital fraud attempts reflects interactions which TransUnion customers either denied in real time due to fraudulent indicators or determined to be fraudulent after a manual review process – compared to all transactions it assessed for fraud.

Download the Omnichannel Fraud in H1 2023 Infographic for more findings including the rate of suspected digital fraud from select markets and regions globally, and the growing problem of synthetic fraud. Specific market and regional data in the analysis include the United States, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom and Zambia.

1 The first half of the year or H1 refers to January 1 to June 30
2 TransUnion TruValidate data (January 1 to June 30)
3 TransUnion Consumer Pulse Survey