Hong Kong,

New TransUnion Research Finds Phishing at Center of Digital COVID-19 Scams

TransUnion Document Verification Solution helps prevent identity fraud that can result from phishing

New research from TransUnion’s (NYSE: TRU) Consumer Financial Hardship Studies found that phishing is the top digital fraud scheme related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among consumers reporting that they’ve been targeted with digital COVID-19 fraud schemes in Hong Kong, 21% said they were hit with pandemic-themed phishing scams.

“From the impacts of phishing and other well documented COVID-19 scams like unemployment fraud, it’s clear that fraudsters have the data and increasing opportunities to create synthetic identities and utilize stolen identities,” said Marie Claire Lim Moore, Hong Kong CEO at TransUnion. “Identity fraud is the primary way fraudsters leverage stolen consumer data from phishing and other social engineering schemes. It can have long-term impacts for consumers such as the compromise of multiple online accounts and bringing down credit scores, which we anticipate will increase during pandemic reconstruction.”

To better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on consumers, TransUnion conducted a global survey including 1,021 respondents in Hong Kong between July 2 and 6, 2020. It asked consumers if they had been targeted by digital COVID-19 fraud and if so, which digital fraud scheme(s) related to COVID-19 they were targeted with. In Hong Kong, 37% said they had been targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19, which was higher than the global average of 32%. The list of the top types of COVID-19 fraud faced by Hong Kong consumers is provided below:

Top Hong Kong Online COVID-19 Scams Targeting Consumers

Digital Fraud Scheme

Percentage Hit by Scheme Among Those Targeted by Digital COVID-19 Fraud

1. Phishing


2. Fake insurance


3. Fraudulent COVID-19 vaccines, cures, tests, and PPE


4. Charity and fundraising scam


5. Unemployment scam


6. Third-party seller scams on legitimate online retail websites


7. Stolen credit card or fraudulent charges


8. Shipping fraud


9. Stimulus check scam


10. Identity theft


11. Someone changing your personal or account information via a call center


12. Account taken over


Source: TransUnion Hong Kong Covid-19 Consumer Financial Hardship Study Report

TransUnion Enhancement to Combat Identity Fraud

With fake identities increasingly available through phishing attacks and other methods, TransUnion’s Document Verification solution helps prevent identity fraud that can result from phishing. As a part of  IDVision® with iovation®, TransUnion’s flagship identity verification solution, Document Verification confirms a consumer’s identity via remote and in-person channels by validating a Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID). It adds strong verification of HKIDs to existing IDVision with iovation capabilities that can validate a consumer by leveraging TransUnion’s comprehensive intelligence about consumer records, device behavior, and if fraud has previously been associated with a person or device.

“With the increase in successful phishing attacks during the pandemic, data breaches and social media sharing, consumers should assume their data is on the dark web,” said Jerry Ying, APAC Vice President, Innovative Solutions Group at TransUnion. “Despite these threats, consumers expect that organizations will protect their identities, and enable secure but still convenient digital experiences. TransUnion’s Document Verification solution provides comprehensive consumer friendly identity verification by triangulating the validity of the document, danger of the device used to capture the document and risk associated with the identity on the document.”

TransUnion’s Document Verification solution verifies consumers who submit a picture or small video clip of a government-issued identification document. The solution provides organizations with additional confirmation of a consumer identity during account origination and subsequent high-risk transactions.

Document Verification ensures that a government issued identification is genuine by:

  • Validating if the identification document is fake or tampered with
  • Confirming the personally identifiable information (PII) in the identification document matches against TransUnion’s data identity of the consumer and flagging any discrepancies
  • Enabling real-time fraud risk checks on the device used to capture the document

The solution also provides an optional feature that compares a selfie the consumer captures to the photo on their identification document. Document Verification can be deployed via TransUnion hosted pages enabling rapid deployment which is critical with the accelerated shift to digital channels.

For more details about TransUnion’s Document Verification solution, go here. To download TransUnion’s Hong Kong Consumer Hardship Studies, go here. For more details around TransUnion’s digital fraud findings during the COVID-19 pandemic, go here.