Financial Services Digital Fraud Attempts in Canada Rise 218%

image showing Financial Services Digital Fraud Attempts in Canada Rise 218%

As more consumers go online for banking and other financial transactions, new research from TransUnion found fraudsters are ramping up their activities in the financial services industry.

When analyzing transactions originating from Canada, the rate of suspected digital fraud attempts1 against financial services companies increased 218% compared to the last four months of 2020 and the first four months of 2021. Globally, suspected financial services digital fraud attempts increased by 149%.

“The rate of fraud attempts is 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’re seeing more financial services organizations implement fraud prevention solutions with some success, though our findings make it clear this is not the time to relax.”

The pandemic is associated with shifting consumer behaviours and new fraud threats

In late Sept. 2020, TransUnion found 40% of financial account holders were using digital platforms more frequently since the onset of the pandemic. The same survey revealed 60% of consumers conduct most of their financial transactions via mobile applications. “As the economy begins to open up and perform better, businesses need to do more to provide a secure marketplace that offers friction-right experiences to consumers,” added Cohen.

Targeted industries emerge as fraud attempt rate rises

These global fraud insights are based on intelligence from billions of transactions — and over 40,000 websites and apps — detected using TransUnion TruValidate™, our flagship identity proofing, risk-based authentication and fraud analytics solution suite.

These findings reveal suspected digital fraud attempts across industries from Canada increased 23% when comparing the last four months of 2020 to the first four months of 2021. Though, the same findings show not all industries are targeted equally.

q2 2021 infographic

For more digital fraud findings, see our entire infographic here.

An analysis of sectors with the largest increases and declines in suspected digital fraud2 shows financial services had the most significant increase in fraud attempt rate at 217.54%, followed by travel and leisure (49.61%) and telecommunications (22.25%).

Gambling experienced the most significant decrease in fraud rate at -30.85%, followed by insurance (-22.06%) and logistics (-16.48%).

“We’re seeing other industries facing fewer suspected fraud attempts than financial services. In some cases, we’re actually seeing a decline in such fraud attempts.” – Melissa Gaddis, Senior Director of Customer Success.

Top suspected digital fraud rate attempt increases and declines by industry in Canada


Suspected fraud percentage change

Top type of fraud globally

Largest percentage increases

Financial services


True identity theft

Travel & leisure


Credit card fraud



True identity theft

Largest percentage declines



Policy/license agreement violations



Suspected ghost broker



Shipping fraud

Top three fraud types impacting financial services:

  1. Identity theft: A fraudster steals and uses a real person’s identity
  2. First-party application fraud: A consumer refuses to repay legitimate debts and/or falsely claims to be a victim of identity fraud to evade the obligation
  3. Account takeover: Someone other than the owner uses an account without permission

According to Gaddis, “Fraudsters don’t treat every industry equally. They often choose based on the time of year or what businesses are seeing more transactional activity. Sometimes, fraud attempts are conducted at random simply to determine if businesses are prepared to meet their challenges.”

How TruValidate helps detect and prevent fraud

TransUnion Global Fraud Solutions unite consumer and device identities to detect threats across markets while ensuring friction-right user experiences. The TransUnion TruValidate suite safeguards tens of millions of transactions a day by fusing data science with machine learning to provide unique insights about consumer behaviours.

For a demonstration of our solutions or to learn more, visit the TruValidate page.

1The percent or rate of suspected or risky fraudulent digital transaction attempts are those TransUnion’s customers either denied or reviewed because of fraudulent indicators compared to all transactions it assessed for fraud.

2Comparing Sept. 1–Dec. 31, 2020 and Jan. 1–May 1, 2021

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