Worried about war and pandemics? Don’t forget about digital fraud, too


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When the coronavirus pandemic hit, people were forced to spend more of their lives online, and that meant more opportunities for cybercriminals to try to steal folks’ information. Two years later, we’re still in a pandemic. But what does this mean for online safety?


new report from credit reporting agency TransUnion looks at recent trends for various forms of fraud around the world. The data shows business identity theft and identity mining or phishing increased more than 100% globally between 2020 and 2021. And true identity theft (using someone’s identity without modification) rose more than 80% globally between 2019 and 2021. That puts many people’s credit in jeopardy and can lead to massive financial issues for those targeted.


Here’s what else TransUnion found.

Fraud issues on the rise

More than 4 in 10 (42%) Americans do more than half of their transactions online. This includes things like shopping, finances and business transactions. And it seems fraudsters are taking full advantage of that. For example, suspected digital fraud in the U.S. increased 60% in the gaming industry and 27% in the financial services industry between 2020 and 2021.


Overall, the top three fraud concerns in the U.S. are:

  • Identity theft (59%)
  • Credit card fraud (56%)
  • Account takeovers (36%)

With increased awareness comes an increased desire for more robust security measures.

What the people want

When it comes to security, Gen Zers (born between 1995 and 2004) in the U.S. prefer a one-time passcode for identity confirmation, while older Americans prefer multifactor authentication. And, in general, Americans tend to value things like the confidence that their data won’t be compromised (76%) and an easy payment process (63%).


So while security is top of mind for many in this increasingly digital-reliant world, that doesn’t mean people are willing to compromise on their user experience. In fact, globally, 62% of consumers say they’d switch companies for a better digital experience. That will be important for companies to consider as they look to combat these fraud-related issues.

Light at the end of the fraud tunnel?

People are noticing the increase in fraud, but they’re also taking steps to protect themselves. For example, 52% of global respondents say they abandon applications that request too much information. That’s especially smart given that 2021 saw significantly more data breaches than 2020. And 57% of global respondents would freeze their credit if they were a victim of digital fraud.


But things shake out differently for those who have been targeted: Just 1 in 3 global respondents placed a fraud alert on their credit report or set up a credit freeze after being targeted. That’s far from ideal. There are also many other steps that people could take to protect themselves from issues like identity theft and other forms of fraud, including:

  • Reviewing their credit card statements to look for bogus charges
  • Shopping only with trusted retailers
  • Using a credit monitoring service

Ultimately, though, it’ll take a combination of consumer savvy and investment in consumer-friendly digital security features to create a safer digital landscape.


TransUnion surveyed 12,500 adults (ages 18 and older) from Jan. 12-18, 2022, with Dynata, a third-party research provider. Respondents are from 15 countries, including the U.S.


This article originally appeared on LendingTree.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.


More from MediaFeed

These 2 Western cities are the most financially fit in the US


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Financial fitness has little or nothing to do with how much you spend on gym memberships each month. But there are plenty of ways to measure financial fitness, from monitoring personal bill-paying activity to tracking cost of living regionally.


LendingTree researchers devised financial fitness scores for the 100 largest U.S. metros, taking into account five individual factors (such as the percentage of income that goes toward owning or renting a home and the percentage of people with at least one maxed-out credit card) and four community factors (such as unemployment rates and real personal income).


Two Utah metros come out at the top, while the two largest metros in the U.S. come out at the bottom. Here’s what else researchers learned.


AaronAmat / istockphoto


  • Utah steals the show when it comes to financial fitness, with Ogden and Provo taking the first and second spots with final scores of 81.4 and 77.5, respectively. Salt Lake City makes a respectable showing at No. 8 with a final score of 70.2.
  • Madison, Wisconsin rounds out the top three, with a final score of 76.5. Madison has one of the lowest unemployment rates — 3.5% — across the 100 metros examined.
  • The two largest metros in the U.S. — New York and Los Angeles — finish at the bottom, with financial fitness scores of 32.5 and 34.6, respectively.
  • McAllen, Texas, comes in third to last with a final score of 36.3. Despite being the cheapest place to live, this Texas metro has the lowest real personal income and the highest unemployment rate, so it’s no surprise that personal struggles with bills and debt follow.


Deposit Photos


LendingTree analysts scored the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) across two categories — community score and individual score — to determine the overall financial fitness of those MSAs.


These two scores were averaged to create a final score, upon which the MSAs were ranked from highest to lowest. The highest possible scores for each category and the final score was 100, and the lowest was zero.


Each metric was first scored according to its relation to the best value (100 points) and the worst value (0 points) among the metros. These metrics were then averaged according to the weights below to create the category score. The final score was equally weighted between the community and individual scores.


In addition to publicly available sources, researchers reviewed more than 300,000 anonymized credit reports of LendingTree app users. The composite metrics represent the latest data available.


nortonrsx/ istockphoto


  • Final Score: 59
  • Community Score: 56.6
  • Individual Score: 61.4





  • Final Score: 59
  • Community Score: 55.9
  • Individual Score: 62





  • Final Score: 59.2
  • Community Score: 51.6
  • Individual Score: 66.8





  • Final Score: 59.7
  • Community Score: 58.3
  • Individual Score: 61.1





  • Final Score: 59.7
  • Community Score: 59.6
  • Individual Score: 59.8





  • Final Score: 60.7
  • Community Score: 61.4
  • Individual Score: 60



Kruck20 / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 60.8
  • Community Score: 51
  • Individual Score: 70.6



tonda / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 60.9
  • Community Score: 49.5
  • Individual Score: 72.2





  • Final Score: 60.9
  • Community Score: 50.2
  • Individual Score: 71.6





  • Final Score: 61
  • Community Score: 52.6
  • Individual Score: 69.3





  • Final Score: 61.2
  • Community Score: 57
  • Individual Score: 65.4



felixmizioznikov /istockphoto


  • Final Score: 61.9
  • Community Score: 56.2
  • Individual Score: 67.6





  • Final Score: 62.6
  • Community Score: 53
  • Individual Score: 72.2



aiisha5 / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 62.7
  • Community Score: 61.7
  • Individual Score: 63.6



Johnny Warrior / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 62.9
  • Community Score: 59.3
  • Individual Score: 66.5





  • Final Score: 63.3
  • Community Score: 62.3
  • Individual Score: 64.3





  • Final Score: 63.3
  • Community Score: 60
  • Individual Score: 66.5



RoschetzkyIstockPhoto / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 63.4
  • Community Score: 64.8
  • Individual Score: 61.9



istockphoto/Vito Palmisano


  • Final Score: 63.4
  • Community Score: 55.8
  • Individual Score: 70.9



Kruck20 / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 63.7
  • Community Score: 57.3
  • Individual Score: 70.1



Jacob Boomsma / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 64.1
  • Community Score: 63.3
  • Individual Score: 64.8





  • Final Score: 64.3
  • Community Score: 55.3
  • Individual Score: 73.2





  • Final Score: 64.4
  • Community Score: 56.6
  • Individual Score: 72.2



Deposit Photos


  • Final Score: 64.5
  • Community Score: 61
  • Individual Score: 68





  • Final Score: 64.7
  • Community Score: 56.8
  • Individual Score: 72.5



Sean Pavone / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 64.8
  • Community Score: 62.2
  • Individual Score: 67.3





  • Final Score: 65.2
  • Community Score: 60.9
  • Individual Score: 69.4



Nicholas Smith / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 65.5
  • Community Score: 55
  • Individual Score: 75.9





  • Final Score: 65.8
  • Community Score: 61.7
  • Individual Score: 69.8





  • Final Score: 66
  • Community Score: 61.1
  • Individual Score: 70.8



Deposit Photos


  • Final Score: 66.1
  • Community Score: 57.1
  • Individual Score: 75



benkrut / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 66.9
  • Community Score: 60.7
  • Individual Score: 73



SeanPavonePhoto / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 67
  • Community Score: 62.1
  • Individual Score: 71.8





  • Final Score: 67.6
  • Community Score: 58.4
  • Individual Score: 76.7





  • Final Score: 67.7
  • Community Score: 54.4
  • Individual Score: 81





  • Final Score: 68.1
  • Community Score: 61.4
  • Individual Score: 74.8





  • Final Score: 68.2
  • Community Score: 64
  • Individual Score: 72.3





  • Final Score: 69.1
  • Community Score: 63
  • Individual Score: 75.2



f11photo / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 69.2
  • Community Score: 59.8
  • Individual Score: 78.5



Sean Pavone / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 69.4
  • Community Score: 63.5
  • Individual Score: 75.3





  • Final Score: 69.9
  • Community Score: 64.4
  • Individual Score: 75.4





  • Final Score: 69.9
  • Community Score: 61.9
  • Individual Score: 77.9



aceshot / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 70.2
  • Community Score: 72.3
  • Individual Score: 68





  • Final Score: 70.8
  • Community Score: 69.8
  • Individual Score: 71.7



dangarneau / istockphoto


  • Final Score: 71.6
  • Community Score: 72.5
  • Individual Score: 70.6



Deposit Photos


  • Final Score: 72
  • Community Score: 65.1
  • Individual Score: 78.8





  • Final Score: 73.2
  • Community Score: 64.7
  • Individual Score: 81.6



Sean Pavone/istockphoto


  • Final Score: 76.5
  • Community Score: 73.1
  • Individual Score: 79.8





  • Final Score: 77.5
  • Community Score: 75.6
  • Individual Score: 79.3





  • Final Score: 81.4
  • Community Score: 81.8
  • Individual Score: 80.9



Scott Catron from Sandy, Utah, USA


Location can certainly help you maintain financial fitness, but your personal habits will follow wherever you go, so make sure yours are helping you meet your financial goals.



Rawpixel / istockphoto


Achieving overall financial fitness often means addressing several different problem areas. Maybe you don’t have credit card debt but you struggle to keep a solid emergency savings.


“Knowing what you want most from your money is the vital first step,” LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz said. “You have to know where you want to go before you can figure out how to get there.”


Cn0ra / istockphoto


Once you’ve identified your goals, you’ll want to lay out a plan of how to achieve them.


“If you don’t know exactly how much money is coming in and going out of your household each month, it’s really tough to make a meaningful plan for your financial future,” he said.


Lyndon Stratford / istockphoto


Life can often impede on your budget, whether that means a sudden loss of income or another major unexpected expense. Financial fitness won’t stop those things from happening, but it can help mitigate the effects if you’re consistently working to improve your situation.


“Financial fitness is about good habits done over a long stretch of time,” Schulz said. “It is absolutely a marathon rather than a sprint.”




You might not think taking out a personal loan can help you get out of debt, but Schulz said debt consolidation loans can work for people juggling multiple payments.


“Not only can it knock down your interest rate, it can streamline your payments,” he said. “Instead of dealing with three or four different creditors, you can consolidate them into one loan, make one single payment and simplify your financial life tremendously.”

This article
originally appeared on 
LendingTree.comand was
syndicated by





Deposit Photos


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