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Cybercrime and who gets targeted

According to the latest research done by LexisNexis’ Cybercrime Report the most vulnerable cybercrime victims are young adults and adults over 75. The report tracks cybercrime activity between July and December 2020 and reveals how the global change in 2020 affected statistics.

A 29 percent growth in global transaction volume was found compared to the second half of 2019. This growth came in the financial services (29 percent), e-commerce (38 percent) and media (9 percent) sectors. The number of human-initiated attacks dropped in 2020 by roughly 184 million, while the number of bot attacks grew by 100 million.

The e-commerce sector experienced the largest growth in bot attack volume in comparison to other industries, despite declining in human-initiated attack rates. The attack rate for e-commerce payments made on a mobile app is higher than for any other industry. This represents a potential point of risk for these businesses. Although e-commerce merchants experience a higher rate of account takeover attempts in comparison to financial services, overall attack rates remain relatively low, and are declining across all channels year-on-year.

Contrary to popular opinion, the increase in bot attacks in the second half of last year was not related to the relocation of most of the workforce from office to home. The culprits were fraudsters testing lists of stolen identity credentials, according to Kimberly Sutherland, vice president of fraud and identity at LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

A large influx of new-to-digital customers went online in 2020. It was the under 25 age group followed by the over 75 age group that proved most vulnerable to fraud attacks.

We most often think of these young adults as highly tech savvy, but many also tend to be more relaxed in their usage patterns and willingness to share personal data,” noted Sutherland.

The over 75 age group faces a different challenge as they are generally considered to be less familiar with the latest digital technologies. This lack of familiarity increases their susceptibility to scams and phishing attempts, she added.

“Fraudsters are opportunists, looking for the easiest targets. The paradox of why fraudsters choose to target the younger age group in proportionally higher volumes can perhaps be answered by the fact that higher success rates can offset the lower monetary gains,” she added.

The largest number of fraud attacks by volume originated from fraudsters located in the United States. Countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany also fit into the top 10 countries for each attack method. Millennials and Gen Z’ers are most susceptible to fraud attacks. The average fraud loss per customer increases progressively with age, likely influenced by larger disposable incomes later in life. The continued shift towards transacting on a mobile device is also notable, according to Sutherland. While desktop transactions still make up a large volume of the transactions, consumers continue to move further towards the mobile channel.

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