One Year after COVID-19 Pandemic Declared, New TransUnion Research Shows Digital Fraud Attempts from Canada Have Increased

Rate of digital fraud attempts against businesses up 26% from Canada when comparing pre-pandemic to pandemic levels

TransUnion’s (NYSE: TRU) latest quarterly analysis of global online fraud trends found that since the COVID-19 pandemic began, fraudsters in Canada are increasing their digital schemes against businesses. In addition, TransUnion’s recent Canada Consumer Pulse Study found that 34% of Canadian consumers have recently been targeted by digital fraud. 

TransUnion came to its conclusions about fraud against businesses 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 found the percent of suspected fraudulent digital transaction attempts[1] against businesses originating from Canada increased 26% when comparing the following two periods: Period #1 (March 11, 2019 and March 10, 2020); Period #2 (March 11, 2020 – when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic – and March 10, 2021).

“Fraudsters are always looking to take advantage of significant world events. The COVID-19 pandemic and its corresponding rapid digital acceleration brought about by stay-at-home orders is a global event unrivaled in the online age,” said Anne-Marie Kelly, head of Market Development, Identity Management and Fraud Solutions at TransUnion. “By analyzing billions of transactions we assessed fraud indicators over the past year, it has become clear that the war against the virus has also brought about a war against digital fraud.”

TransUnion found the Canadian cities with the highest percent of suspected fraudulent digital transactions were: 1) Longueuil, 2) Quebec City and 3) Montreal. 

Consumers Targeted by COVID-19 Schemes

TransUnion’s Global Consumer Pulse Study also found that the 34% of Canadian consumers who said they are being targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19 in the last three months is higher than approximately one year ago. In April 2020, 28% said they had been targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19.

Gen Z, comprised of people born between 1995-2002, is currently the most targeted out of any generation at 49% of those surveyed. They are followed by Gen X, born 1965–1979, which have been targeted 34%.

Among consumers in Canada who reported being targeted with digital COVID-19 schemes, the top pandemic-themed scam is phishing with 44% saying they were hit with it.

Examining Fraud Types and Their Impact on Industries

Globally, TransUnion analyzed the below industries for a change in the percent of suspected digital fraud attempts against them, comparing the periods of March 11, 2019-March 10, 2020 and March 11, 2020-March 10, 2021.


Suspected Digital Fraud Attempt Rate Post-Pandemic Declaration


Suspected fraud change coming from Canada

Global suspected fraud change for industry

Top type of fraud globally




Credit Card Fraud

Financial Services



Identity Theft




Shipping Fraud




Promotion Abuse




Policy/License Agreement Violations

Communities (online dating, forums, etc.)



Profile Misrepresentation

Travel & Leisure



Credit Card Fraud




Ghost Broking




Gold Farming

For more details about TransUnion’s recent global digital fraud findings, visit this blog post.

About TransUnion (NYSE: TRU)

TransUnion is a global information and insights company that makes trust possible in the modern economy. We do this by providing a comprehensive picture of each person so they can be reliably and safely represented in the marketplace. As a result, businesses and consumers can transact with confidence and achieve great things. We call this Information for Good.® TransUnion provides solutions that help create economic opportunity, great experiences and personal empowerment for hundreds of millions of people in more than 30 countries. Our customers in Canada comprise some of the nation’s largest banks and card issuers, and TransUnion is a major credit reporting, fraud, and analytics solutions provider across the finance, retail, telecommunications, utilities, government and insurance sectors.

[1] The percent or rate of suspected 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

Press Contact: Fiona Bang
Telephone: 647-680-2885