A new financial crime report has discovered a rise in phishing scams conducted via text message, an act known as smishing.

The ”Accelerating the Shift to a Cashless Society: Q3 2021 Financial Crime Report” by risk management tool developer Feedzai, analysed over 1.5 billion global transactions completed in Q2 of 2021 to gain a better understanding on the current financial crime landscape. 

Purchase scams, where items are paid for but never delivered, topped the list of fraud scams, followed by social engineering scams, impersonation scams, account takeover (ATO) fraud, and smishing scams. 

The report revealed a move to cashless transactions with a 146% increase in peer-to-peer (P2P) payments and a 44% decrease in cash transactions. Subsequently, financial criminals are exploiting this shift - resulting in the number of online card fraud attempts increasing by 23% between April and July 2021.

Consumers are transferring money in and out of their accounts 45% more than they did last year, and fraudsters are taking note. In some areas such as Australia, banking fraud attacks has increased by a whopping 259% comparing Q2 2020 vs. Q2 2021. 

“Cashless payment were already on the rise, but the pandemic accelerated all forms of digital transactions when lockdowns hit,” said Jaime Ferreira, senior director of global data science at Feedzai. 

”Millions more people experienced just how convenient digital payments and banking are when they couldn’t go to a bank branch or a restaurant or grocery store.”

Ferreira warned that cashless transactions comes with a great cost.

“Cashless transactions are not the future anymore, they are today,” Ferreira said. “Financial institutions and retailers need to address the financial risk and higher complexity attacks that arise with the digital evolution.”

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