Fraud schemes are hardly limited to the holidays, but they tend to spike during this high-spending and stressful time of the year. We would like to help arm you with information on the fraud practices you may encounter and how to avoid becoming a victim.
Technology has created more options for you to access accounts and make purchases, fraud too has opened up more sophisticated avenues. It is always good to continue to be skeptical about calls, texts, and emails.
Listed below are several important fraud methods you may encounter:
Brute Force Schemes are attempts to crack a password or username, find a hidden web page, or find the key used to encrypt a message using a trial-and-error approach to guess correctly. This is an old attack method, but it’s still effective and popular with hackers as they work, whether to crack a single card number or complete BIN.
Skimming is perpetrated by using electronic devices to surreptitiously scan and store credit and debit card numbers and PINs. ATMs and some unattended terminals, such as gas stations, are targets for this practice. This information can then be sold to fraudsters or used to commit theft directly. Fraudsters can use the numbers to make online purchases or to create fake cards for in-store transactions.
Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
SMiShing (SMS phishing) is the act of attempting to acquire personal information such as passwords and details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity through SMS text messages on cell phones. SMiShing messages may come from telephone numbers that are in a strange or unexpected format with links directing to fake websites. A typical SMiShing occurrence can begin with a cardholder receiving a text message inquiring about a suspicious transaction on an account. In reality, the fraudster is looking to obtain other information from cardholders such as debit/credit card numbers, CV2 codes, expiration dates, PINs and other web login credentials.
Legitimate SMS text messages will NEVER include:
- Requests for cardholder’s data, such as card numbers, PINs, CV2 Codes, or Expiration Dates
- Vague reference of a “merchant” transaction; details should be included
- Hyperlinks to unknown websites
- Phone numbers as hyperlinks
Criminals in possession of card details and other forms of personally identifiable information (PII) may be able to spoof a cardholder’s financial institution’s phone number to fool cardholders into thinking text messages are from the fraud department.
Vishing is the telephone equivalent of phishing. It is described as the act of using the telephone to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for fraudulent purchases or identity theft.
Some holiday scams your cardholders may see:
Seasonal Travel Scams
- Beware of deals that are too good to be true
- Cardholders should always know who they are booking their travel through
Holiday Charity Scams
- A legitimate charity will welcome donations whenever the cardholder chooses to make it. Fraudsters will pressure cardholders to make it immediately.
- Don’t make any donation with a gift card or wire transfer.
- All user information is targeted in data breaches, not just payment card information.
- As fraud controls get smarter, fraudsters are shifting their strategies and patterns to bypass controls.