Phishing, Smishing and Vishing Are the Top Types of Fraud, According to TransUnion

New data published by global information and insights provider, TransUnion, shows that over four in 10 (43%) UK consumers who said they have been targeted by fraud were targeted by phishing in the period between September and December 2022.  

This is followed by smishing – fraudulent text messages meant to trick you into revealing data (40%) – and vishing – fraudulent phone calls with the same aim (28%), indicating that digital channels remain the most common focus for fraudsters, according to TransUnion’s 2023 State of Omnichannel Fraud Report.

However, the top types of digital fraud which UK consumers were most worried about differed from the attempts reported, as the biggest consumer concerns were identity theft (52%), stolen credit cards (45%) and account takeover (41%). 

Josh Gunnell, director of fraud and ID for TransUnion in the UK, said: “We’re seeing a persistently high number of suspected digital fraud attempts, with the total volume still 11% higher than pre-pandemic.i This reflects the overall accelerated adoption of digital technologies and rise in online transactions. UK businesses need to take proactive steps to protect themselves and their customers by ensuring that identity proofing and authentication is up-to-date and as robust as possible.”   

Cyber criminals turn their attention to new industries   

A number of industries have seen a rise in digital fraud attempts from the UK in comparison to 2021, including insurance, gambling and logistics.ii  

At the same time, some industries, such as financial services, saw a significant drop in attempts year-on-year indicating that cyber criminals have turned their attention elsewhere. This may be testament to the increasing levels of control that finance providers are putting in place to help stop fraud and raise awareness of scams. 

Josh Gunnell continued: “Rates of digital fraud attempts by sector tend to change rapidly, as fraudsters innovatively shift focus to where there are new opportunities to make financial gain. They will be agile in targeting consumers and organisations as the UK navigates this current period of economic uncertainty. At TransUnion, we help businesses across a wide range of industries prevent fraud by using intelligent, predictive solutions to deliver better experiences.”  

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 TransUnion’s flagship identity proofing, risk-based authentication and fraud analytics solution suite – TruValidate.


Unless otherwise stated, all data relates to the 2023 State of Omnichannel Fraud Report which blends proprietary insights from TransUnion’s global intelligence network and a specially commissioned TransUnion consumer survey in 18 countries and regions globally, including the UK. 

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

ii Changes reflect comparisons between data collected between Jan 1 and Dec 31 2022 – the latest full year dataset – and the same period in 2021