Cybercrime Increases Amidst Pandemic

Published: 27 October 2020

Online ScamOnline scams take billions of dollars worldwide. (Photo: Mohamed HassanPixabay, License)

By Zdravko Ljubas

Online scams are increasing globally, with €36 billion (US$42.58 billion) lost in 2019 alone, Scamadviser data warned Tuesday in its latest report.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the data analyst agency, “an increase of 40 percent for 2020 can be expected as more and more consumers move to online shopping.”

Scamadviser based its report on an analysis of scam data from 31 countries, covering 60 percent of the world population and 85 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It said that nearly all countries researched stated a growth in the number of online scams and money lost, except Sweden and Italy that reported a decrease in the number of scams in 2019.

“Several countries report that online fraud is becoming the most reported crime,” read the report. It cited Singapore where scams made up 27 percent of overall crime in 2019.

“Likewise, fraud is the most experienced crime in the United Kingdom and the biggest source of consumer angst in the United States, while Russia reports that cybercrime’s share as part of all crimes may grow from 14 percent in 2019 to 30 percent in 2023,” according to Scamadviser.

The analysis contained some interesting observations, such as that “higher educated and high-income consumers get scammed more as they spend more online and take more risks.”

Governments across the world have become more aware of the risks of cybercrime, but, as Scamadviser reported, “even in countries where online scams are receiving government attention like Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Singapore and the United Kingdom, scam reporting is still spread across multiple organizations such as banks, credit card companies, consumer protection agencies, police forces, public-private partnerships and review sites.”

The agency warned that scammers nearly always operate internationally and spread their scams across multiple countries, so that the “chance of getting identified, investigated and, in the end, caught is very low.”