A new research from TransUnion shows that more consumers go online for banking and other financial transactions, new research from TransUnion found that fraudsters are ramping up their efforts in the financial services industry. When comparing the last four months of 2020 (Sept. 1 – Dec. 31) and the first four months of 2021 (Jan. 1 – May 1), the company found the percentage of suspected digital fraud attempts in financial services coming from Canada increased 218%. Globally, the rate of financial services fraud attempts increased 149%.

Across industries, the rate of suspected digital fraud attempts globally rose 24% when comparing the first four months of 2021 with the last four months of 2020. The percentage of suspected digital fraud attempts coming from Canada increased 23% during the same time period.

“The rate of fraud attempts are up globally and especially in the financial services industry because fraudsters understand this is where the most high value transactions are taking place,” said Shai Cohen, senior vice president of Global Fraud Solutions at TransUnion. “We are seeing more financial services organizations implement fraud prevention solutions with some success, though our findings make it clear that this is not the time to relax. As the economy begins to open up and perform better, businesses need to do even better to ensure they are providing a secure marketplace that offers friction-right experiences to consumers.”

Examining Fraud Types and Their Impact on Industries

TransUnion analyzed industries with the highest increases and declines in the percent of suspected digital fraud attempts against them coming from Canada, comparing the periods of Sept. 1 – Dec. 31, 2020 and Jan. 1 – May 1, 2021.

Top Suspected Digital Fraud Rate Attempt Increases and Declines by Industry


Suspected Fraud Percentage Change

Top Type of Fraud Globally

Largest Percentage Increases from Canada

Financial Services


True Identity Theft

Travel & Leisure


Credit Card Fraud



True Identity Theft

Largest Percentage Declines from Canada



Policy/License Agreement Violations



Suspected Ghost Broker



Shipping Fraud

TransUnion defines true identity theft, the top type of digital fraud in financial services, as the consumer using a stolen identity to commit fraud with the victim being a real person. The second and third most reported type of digital fraud by TransUnion financial services customers are first-party application fraud and account takeover, respectively.

Simply put, first-party application fraud is when a consumer refuses to repay legitimately incurred debts and/or falsely claims to be a victim of identity fraud to evade debt. Account takeover is when someone other than the owner of an account uses the account without permission, indicating that the account has been maliciously compromised.

“We’ve seen a remarkable increase in financial services fraud in Canada, but other industries are facing far fewer suspected fraud attempts. In some cases, we are seeing a decline in such fraud attempts,” said Anne-Marie Kelly, head of Market Development, Identity Management and Fraud Solutions at TransUnion. “The key takeaway for businesses is that fraudsters do not treat every industry equally. They often pick and choose an industry to focus on based on the time of year or what businesses are seeing more transactional activity. At times, fraud attempts are simply conducted at random to determine if businesses are prepared to meet their challenges.”

Source: TransUnion