ONS Figures Confirm Significant Rise in Fraud During Pandemic

Josh Gunnell, head of fraud & ID pre-sales at TransUnion in the UK, comments on the recent ONS fraud statistics:

“The latest quarterly figures from the Office for National Statistics confirm the extent to which fraudsters have taken advantage of the pandemic, showing a 24% increase for the year ending March 2021, when comparing pre-pandemic, with the year ending March 2019. Retail fraud and advanced fee fraud – which would include the delivery service scams that have been proliferating – unsurprisingly played a significant part in this. In fact, our recent Consumer Pulsei study which has been tracking the impact of the pandemic showed that more than one in three consumers say they have been targeted in a digital fraud attempt related to COVID-19, rising to one in two for Gen Z. Phishing scams – reported by 39% of targeted consumers – remain the most common form.

“Similarly, Action Fraud reported a rise of 28% in fraud offences to March 2021 when compared with the previous year. This included a dramatic increase in online shopping and auction fraud – where people are being misled about buying or selling in an online marketplace – which was up 57%. Despite lockdown restrictions easing, the growth in online transactions is here to stay, and businesses must adapt to the changes and update their fraud prevention strategies where necessary.”


i According to TransUnion’s Consumer Pulse study, based on research conducted among 1,027 adults between 2-3 June 2021