Hong Kong,

New TransUnion Research Shows Digital Fraud Originating in Hong Kong Shifting to Target Logistics and Gaming Industries, Consumers also at Increased Risk


  • Logistics and gaming sectors show the greatest percentage increase in suspected online fraud against them recently
  • Consumers targeted by digital COVID-19 fraud jumps from early in the pandemic


TransUnion’s (NYSE: TRU) latest quarterly analysis of global online fraud trends found suspected fraud originating in Hong Kong is increasingly targeting logistics and gaming companies, and Hong Kong consumers are being targeted more with digital COVID-19 focused scams.

TransUnion identified the latest fraud trends based on intelligence from billions of transactions and more than 40,000 websites and apps contained in its flagship fraud prevention solution, IDVision® with iovation®. It found the percentage of suspected fraudulent digital transactions originating in Hong Kong against businesses has been relatively flat recently. Specifically, it has increased only 1% when comparing transactions from March 11-May 18 to May 19-July 25. In contrast, TransUnion’s Consumer Financial Hardship surveys found consumers in Hong Kong targeted by digital COVID-19 schemes increased 9% from the early days of the pandemic (week of April 13) to more recently (week of July 27).This suggests fraudsters have decided to strategically prey on unsuspecting individuals rather than businesses.

“With the rush for businesses to go digital as many were forced to go completely online almost overnight, fraudsters tried to take advantage,” said Shai Cohen, senior vice president of Global Fraud Solutions at TransUnion. “They were most likely unsuccessful in their attempts and took their scams elsewhere as those businesses ramped up their digital fraud prevention solutions while providing a seamless consumer experience. Conversely with consumers, fraudsters are increasingly using COVID-19 to prey on those who are facing mounting financial pressures.”

Examining Fraud Types and Their Impact on Industries

TransUnion analyzed the below industries for a change in the percent of suspected fraud against them, comparing the periods of March 11-May 18 and May 19-July 25. Overall, it found digital fraud originating in Hong Kong against businesses have shifted from targeting the telecommunications and financial services sector in the early days of the pandemic to logistics and gaming companies.


Suspected fraud increase originating in HK

Suspected fraud increase globally

Top type of fraud globally








Gold farming




Promotion abuse

Travel & Leisure



Credit card

Communities (online dating, forums, etc.)



Profile misrepresentation

Financial Services



Identity theft




Promotion abuse




Credit card

Source: TransUnion’s quarterly analysis of global online fraud trends

“It appears digital fraudsters assume logistics and gaming companies are scrutinizing transactions less as the pandemic continues to impact their business,” said Marie Claire Lim Moore, CEO of TransUnion Hong Kong. “Another interesting note is that telecommunications, retail and financial services companies – all industries that have fared relatively well online during the pandemic – were targeted with the most digital fraud early in the pandemic but are now among the least targeted. This shows us that fraudsters initially targeted the hottest industries with the most money to be had early in the pandemic in order to hide behind the rush of transactions, but have now made an obvious shift to capture more revenue.”

Consumers Targeted By COVID-19 Schemes

To better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on consumers, TransUnion surveyed 8,265 adults in Canada, Colombia, Hong Kong, South Africa the U.K. and the U.S. the week of July 27. Almost 4 in 10 Hong Kong respondents (39%) said they had been targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19, with Millennials (age 26-40) being the most targeted at 40%. Among Hong Kong consumers reporting being targeted with digital COVID-19 schemes globally, the top pandemic-themed scam was phishing with 29% saying they were hit with it. The second most used pandemic-themed digital scam was consumers being targeted by fraudulent COVID-19 vaccines, cures, tests, and PPE.

“Phishing shows fraudsters aren’t after a quick hit, but rather looking for returns over the long haul,” said Lim Moore. “Once a fraudster steals a consumer’s credentials, the wave of disruption they can cause with a stolen or synthetic identity is endless, from compromising multiple online accounts to significantly impacting credit scores.”

Consumers can learn how to protect themselves from fraud and identity theft with the TransUnion Fraud Victim Bill of Rights.


This quarter TransUnion analyzed fraud trends against companies to reflect the reopening of in-person business locations during the COVID-19 pandemic. TransUnion used March 11, 2020 – the date the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic – as a base date for its analysis. It used May 18 and 19 as the mid-point dates during the pandemic in order to compare fraud trends during the first 68 days to the second 68 days of the pandemic. Suspected fraud are transactions that TransUnion’s customers either denied or reviewed due to fraudulent indicators.

For more details about the above findings, view TransUnion’s infographic or visit its COVID-19 resource center. TransUnion recently discussed the findings in its September 17 webinar.