The year-end shopping season is an exciting time, not just for bargain-hungry shoppers but also for online malicious actors looking to capitalise on the occasion. Shopping events such as Black Friday and Christmas are when fraudsters ramp up their activity with the aim of stealing credit card details and personal data to be used for unauthorised financial transactions or tricking consumers into authorising a payment for goods or services which either don’t exist or aren’t as described.
As opposed to fraud in a brick-and-mortar store, online fraud can be conducted with illegally obtained personal information without the need for a physical card. Hackers steal information and sell it on the dark web, making it possible for other malicious actors to carry out fraudulent transactions against merchants and customers. Their tactics are getting more sophisticated and they evolve with every passing year.
Richard Bromley, Revolut’s Fraud Risk Manager, says: “This highlights the ever-present need for the industry to put in place a robust and vigilant anti-fraud system. Revolut’s award-winning anti-fraud system uses machine learning algorithms to detect suspicious transactions in real-time. Once suspicious activity is detected, a customer’s card is frozen to protect their money. If a customer suspects that their account has been compromised, they should log into their app immediately, freeze their card and contact customer support.”
Improving consumer education is key
In Experian’s 2021 Global Identity and Fraud Report, it was found that 44 percent of respondents mistakenly believe that fraud-prevention is about protecting their credit cards and bank account details. However, personal data such as our date of birth, address, and personal identification number are the information that enable fraudsters to steal our identities and take over our accounts. Customers should be wary of who they share their personal information with and pay attention to the ways Fraudsters are able to obtain our information through a number of channels. Such as:
- Redirecting us to a malicious page or link for checkout
- Using fake online stores to obtain our credit card details
- Purchasing stolen card data and passwords on the dark web
- Taking over an account through phishing scams using fake apps and emails
- Impersonalisation frauds where a criminal contacts you pretending to be your bank, someone you know, or an organisation like the police or tax authorities.
Consumers should also be wary of fraudsters who disguise themselves as charity organisations and create websites to get hold of your card details. Some of them might even go door-to-door soliciting for donations and asking for personal details such as your email address, phone number and date of birth.
Local cyber-security authorities also highlighted the importance of increasing caution: ”90% of cyber attacks are directed at individual users, because it is less expensive to exploit a person’s carelessness or naivety than to try to compromise computer systems through existing vulnerabilities. Users often falsely consider themselves safe, appreciating that they are not important enough to become targets. Of course, it is a wrong perspective, because any type of data can now be monetized on Darknet. The data we are working with at the moment, whether we refer to personal, financial, access to certain accounts, or even the data of the company where we are employed, can be easily monetized, if it comes into the hands of cybercriminals”, explained Mihai Rotariu, Communications Lead of the Romanian Cyber Security Directorate.
Revolut’s tools to fight fraud
As the year-end shopping season takes off, customers should acquaint themselves with the features Revolut has implemented to protect their money:
- Option to log into your account using your smartphone’s Touch ID or Face ID feature
2. Ability to disable ecommerce payments, contactless and swipe payments, and ATM withdrawals for any of your cards in the app to reduce the risk of fraud
3. Virtual single use disposable cards where the numbers are replaced, making it impossible to use them again, after each transaction
4. 3D Secure protocol asking you to log into your account to verify certain ecommerce payments
Steps you can take to protect yourself
So, before you lose yourself in the myriad of mouthwatering deals, remember these tips:
- Shop with retailers that are reputable and reliable. As a rule of thumb, their websites’ URLs should start with https, not http. Look for a padlock icon placed before the website name indicating the site is secured with a digital certificate.
- Never divulge any PINs, passwords, and personal details over the phone or an online chat support
- Do not click on suspicious links that are sent under the disguise of winning a lucky draw or to make payment for a package you do not recall expecting
“For customers who wish to take full advantage of the many shopping deals out there during the year-end season, they can also install the Revolut Shopper Chrome extension,” Bromley suggests. “The extension automatically applies any discounts and cashback deals on partner shopping sites and gives customers the option of completing their payment with a single-use card that refreshes its details with every purchase.”