Fraud over the festive season



CEO's Notes


APS Bank's CEOs Notes

The Christmas season is usually characterised by an increase in fraudulent activity so much that it has earned the term ‘festive fraud’.  This annual phenomenon was the subject of a survey published recently by ACI Worldwide, a provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions. The study suggests that merchants can expect a 30% increase in omni-channel fraudulent traffic compared to the same period last year. Data breaches, identity theft, phishing scams, account takeover and friendly fraud are the main contributors.

In the USA, three days of shopping frenzy on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday generated a record of $14 billion in online sales. Curiously, credit card fraud actually fell, suggesting that retailers are getting better at sniffing out card-not-present fraud which had been ticking upward in recent years. But this may not be the end of the story since holiday shopping is still to peak and increased fraud activity remains likely. The risks connected with internet and mobile banking are well known and also rise over the holiday season. Safety basics when conducting banking transactions are paramount, such as avoiding public wi-fi locations and regular checking of statements. Special attention should be given to small transactions, especially those items and charges that appear unfamiliar, which is how criminals test a card or account hacking strategy. Fraud attempts also increase because criminals think that banks lower their guard on the controls usually in place. Whether due to vacation leave, office parties and other commitments in what is a very busy period, staff may tend to ‘cut corners’ on standard procedures. The best safeguards against ‘festive fraud’ remain those based on alertness, prudent management and common sense.

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