Passports are the most frequently attacked form of identification during Covid

Bitdefender Mobile Security

Passports have surpassed national identity cards as criminals’ favorite type of counterfeit or forged document, according to Onfido’s 2022 Identity Fraud Report.

An analysis by document fraud specialists over 12 months through October 2021 has revealed a more sophisticated wave of organized fraud entering the marketplace, with 47% of all identity document fraud showing less apparent errors during forgery.

“Over the past year, passports have overtaken National Identity Cards as the most frequently attacked form of identification,” Onfido’s report said.  “This points to a shift in fraudsters’ methods as they choose to target the one-sided passport page, rather than a two-sided ID card, and target the most high-assurance document in the hope that a passport’s reputation will help the fake go undetected.”

The report has also revealed interesting facts regarding fraudsters’ behavior with notable shifts towards weekend activity.

“Fraudsters have officially ditched the standard working week, as weekend attacks have increased by over 50% since 2019, making fraud much more difficult to predict,” the analysts explained. “It could be because amateurs have moved into the space as part-time fraudsters, or that they’re taking advantage of businesses’ downtime when there are fewer employees to pick up on suspicious activity.”

The lockdowns and subsequent turn to digital platforms have led to a 42% increase in online identity theft and fraud in the US, translating to $712 billion in losses. This trend “appears to be here to stay” as long as individuals stick to online shopping and remote work during the health crisis and beyond, the researchers suggest.

“As consumers become more comfortable with digital transactions, fraudsters have remained online with them, as the report found that identity fraud is yet to return to pre-pandemic levels,” Onfido added.

“In 2020, there was a 41% increase in ID fraud, with the average ID fraud rate reaching 5.8%. Over the past 12 months, even though physical restrictions began to lift, the average fraud rate was recorded at 5.9%, showing that fraud still hasn’t dropped back to pre-pandemic levels. The jump in fraud that was a direct result of the pandemic appears to be here to stay. “