Study: Industries in HK most frequented by fraudsters


As the prevalence of digital fraud attempts on businesses and consumers continues to rise, TransUnion’s newest quarterly analysis found that online fraudsters in Hong Kong are re-focusing their efforts from logistics to the communities such as online dating, forums, and gaming industries.

Across industries, the rate of suspected digital fraud attempts rose 16.5% globally when comparing the second quarter of 2021 (April 1 - June 30, 2021) to second quarter of 2020 (April 1 - June 30, 2020). For transactions coming from Hong Kong, the percentage of suspected digital fraud attempts increased at a much higher rate of 62.4% during the same time period.

Communities and gaming were the industries with the largest suspected digital fraud attempt rate increase for transactions originating from Hong Kong, rising 333.3% and 205.6% from second quarter of 2020 to the same period on 2021, respectively.  TransUnion monitors digital fraud attempts reported by businesses in varied industries such as gambling, gaming, financial services, healthcare, insurance, retail and travel and leisure, among others. The conclusions are based on intelligence from billions of transactions and more than 40,000 websites and apps contained in its flagship identity proofing, risk-based authentication and fraud analytics solution suite TransUnion TruValidate.

“It is quite common for fraudsters to shift their focus every few months from one industry to another,” said Jerry Ying, TransUnion APAC’s chief products officer.

Fraudsters tend to seek out industries that may be seeing an immense growth in transactions.|

In Q2 2021, as the city gradually recovered from the pandemic, and people start to increase discretionary expenses, communities and gaming activities became more mainstream, and fraudsters made these industries top targets. “The immense growth in these frauds also can be attributed to the shifts in focus of fraudsters as these growing markets become a larger target,” Ying said.

An example of the sudden shift in focus of fraudsters can be seen in logistics. The online fraud attempt rate for transactions coming from Hong Kong had risen 199.4% when comparing the periods of 11 March 2019 to 10 March 2020, and 11 March 2020 to 10 March 2021. When comparing Q2 2021 and Q2 2020, the rate of suspected online logistic fraud attempts coming from Hong Kong had still risen, but at a much lower rate of 3.5%.



Percentage Change

Coming from Hong Kong

Top Type of Fraud Globally

Communities (online dating, forums, etc.)


Profile Misrepresentation



Gold Farming

Travel & Leisure


Credit Card Fraud



Policy/License Agreement Violations



Shipping Fraud

Financial Services


True Identity Theft



Inappropriate Content


As online fraud attempts against businesses continue to escalate, more than one-third of consumers stated that they have been targeted by a digital fraud scheme related to COVID-19 during the second quarter of 2021. TransUnion’s Consumer Pulse study in June 2021 found that approximately 37% of Hong Kong survey respondents said they were targeted by fraudsters in COVID-19 related digital schemes.

Phishing continued to be the most common type of COVID-19 related digital fraud impacting Hong Kong consumers in Q2 2021.

Among Hong Kong consumers who say they were targeted with COVID-19-related digital fraud, 34% state they have been targeted by or fallen victim to such fraud. Stolen credit card or fraudulent charges was the second most cited type of COVID-19 related online fraud among those targeted, affecting Hong Kong consumers at 22%. Additionally, the younger generations appear to be in the crosshairs of fraudsters the most, with 40% of Gen Z saying they’d been targeted with digital fraud related to COVID-19.

“One in three people in Hong Kong have been targeted by or fallen victim to digital fraud during the pandemic, placing even more pressure on businesses to ensure their customers are confident in transacting with them,” said Ying. “As fraudsters continue to target consumers, it’s incumbent on businesses to do all that they can to ensure their customers have an appropriate level of security to trust their transaction is safe all while having a friction-right experience to avoid shopping cart abandonment.”

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