Content fraud levels continue to rise in 2021

The pandemic has ushered in a new level of scams and misinformation

Content fraud levels that spiked at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic aren't dropping off as the world recovers. In fact, they're getting worse, according to a report released today by fraud prevention company Sift. 

The company analyzed content that it blocked on over 34,000 websites, including forums, marketplaces, and social media channels. It found that while fraudulent content spiked by 77% in Q1 last year, just as the pandemic took hold, it did not revert this quarter. Year-on-year figures for Q1 2021 show the average rate of fraudulent content it blocked rose another 18%. 

The continuing rise in online fraud stems in part from changing commerce patterns as transactions move online, the company said in its report. This has accelerated as retailers and other businesses find ways to survive during the pandemic. 

Sift, which also polled adults nationwide in May, found that 59.4% of blocked posts attempted to scam users, while 22.2% were marked “irrelevant.” Almost one in five (18.3%) posts were labeled toxic, meaning they harassed other users and often contained hate speech. 

User-generated content has become a go-to method for defrauding consumers, the company warned, as criminals use various online channels to post scam content. The fraud ranges from romance and employment scams to fake marketplace listings and artificially boosted reviews. 

Related Resource

Empowering the dynamic worker

How CIOs and IT teams can support a distributed workforce

Empowering the dynamic worker - words against a white background with a green clock - whitepaper from O2Download now

Social media channels were the most popular avenue for content fraud, as 61% of respondents ranked it highly. Next came online classifieds at 28%, dating sites at 24%, marketplaces at 21%, and crowdfunding sites at 15%. These figures also include misinformation, such as anti-vaccination conspiracy theories. 

Over a quarter of respondents said they have run across fraudulent content at least weekly. The types of fraudulent content encountered most frequently were spam and scam at around 50% each. Misinformation was a close third at 43%. 

Featured Resources

Modern governance: The how-to guide

Equipping organisations with the right tools for business resilience

Free Download

Cloud operational excellence

Everything you need to know about optimising your cloud operations

Watch now

A buyer’s guide to board management software

Improve your board’s performance

The real world business value of Oracle autonomous data warehouse

Lead with a 417% five-year ROI

Download now

Recommended

UK's first government cyber strategy aims to bolster public sector defences
cyber security

UK's first government cyber strategy aims to bolster public sector defences

25 Jan 2022
Russia's "politically motivated" REvil raid could be used as leverage, experts warn
ransomware

Russia's "politically motivated" REvil raid could be used as leverage, experts warn

17 Jan 2022
Meta files lawsuit to uncover hackers targeting Facebook, WhatsApp
phishing

Meta files lawsuit to uncover hackers targeting Facebook, WhatsApp

21 Dec 2021
Five things to consider before choosing an MFA solution
Security

Five things to consider before choosing an MFA solution

17 Dec 2021

Most Popular

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

6 Jan 2022
Sony pulls out of MWC 2022
Business operations

Sony pulls out of MWC 2022

14 Jan 2022
Dell XPS 15 (2021) review: The best just got better
Laptops

Dell XPS 15 (2021) review: The best just got better

14 Jan 2022