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Fraud increased amid pandemic



While the country is busy finding ways to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a few others are using the opportunity to take over thousands of people and businesses’ accounts to rake in money.

In a recent press briefing, Inez Hutapea, forensic manager at Deloitte Southeast Asia, said the pandemic and the upcoming holiday season present the perfect opportunity for fraudsters to leverage account takeovers, taking advantage of more people shopping online.

Citing a survey report published by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), Hutapea pointed out that over half or 68 percent of the respondents said the overall level of fraud increased in the wake of COVID-19.

Almost or 93 percent of respondents said they anticipate an increase in fraud in the next year — more than half predict a significant increase, while nearly three-quarter of respondents face additional challenges in preventing and investigating fraud.

Data from Deloitte Global likewise showed that e-commerce sales are forecasted to grow around 25 to 35 percent and are expected to generate $182 billion and $196 billion this season.

While consumers can secure their accounts by leveraging tools like multi-factor authentication for passwords management, Hutapea noted that majority don’t apply the best practices.

Deloitte underscored that 66 percent of consumers surveyed either don’t use any type of password manager or aren’t sure if they do, despite 52 percent of them have concerns about becoming victims of fraud.

Businesses under attack
Since majority of fraud victims are working adults, Hutapea noted that businesses are also affected by the fraudulent scheme.

Small or large businesses, all of them ultimately face the real cost because in addition to reimbursing hacked customers, she said businesses also face chargeback fees and payment network fines from payment frauds.

Businesses have been forced to adapt to an immediate shift in customer behavior since the onset of the global pandemic. Unfortunately, fraudsters have, too, Hutapea stressed.

Thus, Hutapea proposed that companies treat account protection as part of the overall customer experience — allowing seamless transactions while preventing fraud.

“While the pandemic forces us to use technology as a means to circumvent disruptive physical restrictions to the current way of working, a post COVID-19 environment will leave us with a permanently more technology-driven way of working and consequently an abundance of new data and possibilities,” she said.