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February 17, 2021 - Ting Fang Yen

New Fraud Research Reveals Trends to Watch in 2021

The global pandemic that dominated most of 2020 served as a valuable reminder that fraud is a constantly evolving mechanism. Companies across industries and sizes had to be wary of fraudulent activities and transactions, specifically across digital channels since many in-person interactions came to a standstill amid lockdowns and social distancing.

DataVisor recently released its 2021 Digital Fraud Trends report, which you can download here. Take a look at a few key takeaways that are likely to define the digital fraud prevention landscape for the coming year:

70%- 90% of Financial Fraud Attacks Are Account Takeovers

Fraud in the financial sector peaked in April 2020 before starting a steady decline. Of those fraudulent activities, 70-90% of fraudulent attacks were account takeovers (ATOs). When viewed singularly, the number of ATO attempts continued to trend upward. This underscores the importance of monitoring for ATO activity and its role in fraud prevention.

Something that could affect this is the issuing of government stimulus money. We noticed that both new account fraud and transaction fraud slightly declined after the spring peak. Government financial aid may have helped to reduce the need to commit fraud due to financial burdens. 

Fraud on Desktop Devices Is 15x Higher than Mobile Devices

Despite the rise in mobile device usage, desktop is still the preferred choice when it comes to committing digital fraud. Our data shows that mobile devices have a fraud rate of just 0.5% compared with a 7.4% rate on desktop devices. 

 Since the middle of last year, we’ve also seen an uptick in fraud being committed from less common operating systems, including iOS, BlackBerry, and Linux. 

Jailbroken Devices Generate 22x More Events

Jailbroken devices have always left users and businesses vulnerable to fraud. Device manipulation is a common weapon fraudsters use to conceal their wrongdoings because it bypasses device fingerprinting. We observe 22x more events per device generated from rooted or jailbroken devices than non-jailbroken devices. This indicates that compromised devices are much more active, likely due to fraudsters controlling multiple accounts and doing so using automated scripts. 

Bots and Automation Are Used in 100% of Fraudulent Activities

One question that dominates the fraud landscape is determining how many fraud attempts are carried out by humans vs. bots. Our data shows that almost 100% of fraudulent accounts use automation at some point in their life cycles. This makes it increasingly difficult to distinguish between humans and bots.

Want more details into these and other insights? Download the Digital Fraud Trends Report 2021. 

Photo of Ting Fang Yen
about Ting Fang Yen
Ting-Fang Yen is Director of Research at DataVisor. Ting-Fang specializes in network and information security data analysis and fraud detection in the financial, social, and e-commerce industries. She holds a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon and has previously worked for E8, RSA, and Microsoft.
Photo of Ting Fang Yen
about Ting Fang Yen
Ting-Fang Yen is Director of Research at DataVisor. Ting-Fang specializes in network and information security data analysis and fraud detection in the financial, social, and e-commerce industries. She holds a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon and has previously worked for E8, RSA, and Microsoft.