Top 5 Fraud Trends in 2021

In 2021, fraudsters have become more ingenuitive and sinister than in 2020. The onset of COVID-19 has given fraudsters more opportunities in all sectors from a proposed 90% rise in corporate fraud to unemployment fraud to debit and credit fraud. Below are the top 5 fraud trends that are projected to be prominent in 2021 and how you can avoid falling victim.

Pandemic Relief

A rise in fraud was projected and reported in regards to the pandemic relief programs throughout the international community. This includes scams such as check interception of individuals (either physically or virtually), unemployment fraud, and small business scams. You can protect yourself by logging on to your government relief program sites regularly and double-checking your information so that this cannot be intercepted or fraudulently applied for on your behalf.


The potential for fraudulent claims to be submitted in your name is projected to surge in 2021. Life insurance companies in particular have already reported a rise in fraudulent claims. You can protect your assets and policies by logging in to your auto, home, life, or medical insurance accounts regularly and checking that no claims have been submitted in your name. Setting up notifications and ensuring that you receive alerts when a claim is made, can help you stop this when it starts!

Email Compromises

An email compromise is when you receive an email from an individual or corporation and react to a link or submit the request on the sender’s behalf. You may not realize an account has been compromised or spoofed or that by clicking a link you have compromised your email.  In 2020, “approximately 22% of breaches included social engineering and approximately 96% of these situations were derived from email” in a corporate setting alone. When you receive an email or message (whether in your personal or professional email) always double-check the sender’s domain and call the number provided on the website of the actual company to double-check.

Identity Theft

Corresponding with the increase of online shopping due to work from home orders, is also a rise in debit and credit card credential theft. To prevent identity theft, you should monitor all of your accounts regularly as well as institute multi-factor sign-ins for all accounts, and have alerts provided with sign-in attempts and charges to your credit and debit cards. Fraud can occur on any site with your information: ranging from bank accounts, email accounts, social media accounts, and online shopping sites. Should your accounts be compromised, call your bank immediately.

Tax Fraud

Victims of unemployment fraud and identity theft can also be slammed with tax fraud. When this happens, victims are often taxed for unemployment taken out in their name. This is projected to be one of the most frustrating frauds of 2021. Check interception of small businesses pandemic relief and false individual  unemployment claims are on the rise. Targets for this include senior citizens, which is why it is important that you talk to your grandparents , and other members of vulnerable populations about the importance of regularly checking their accounts. 

So, What Can You Do if You Fail Victim to One of These Frauds Trends?

It is important that you know where to go if this happens to you. The first step is to iImmediately contact your bank, then check in with local/state agencies that can offer you assistance for identity theft and fraud. You can also contact the IRS and FBI directly should you be a victim.

Authored by Cate Foradori, PR Committee Chair and Fraud Analyst
filed under: Press Release

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