Consumers Asked to Stay Alert Due to Expected Rise in Fraudulent Activities: Visa Report

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) revealed its Holiday Edition Threats Report, which anticipates heightened scam activity during the holiday season “across both card-present (CP) and card-not-present (CNP) transactions.”

The new report identifies popular fraud tactics “expected between November 2023 and January 2024 due to the rapid increase in eCommerce activities and in-person spending across retail and hospitality.”

Visa also unveiled its list of top habits consumers “can follow to practice safe and secure shopping.”

Historical data and transactions show “that threat actors prey on consumers during the holiday season. In fact, Visa’s data shows that for the top merchant categories targeted by fraudsters, 2022 holiday fraud rates increased 11% over their non-holiday fraud rate and saw an increase of 8% over the previous year during this time.”

The Holiday Edition Threats Report warns that threat actors “will seek to exploit consumers’ increased interest and urgency in finding deals and one-of-a-kind gifts.”

Highlights of the report’s findings include:

  • Digital Skimming: With the increase in online shopping, there’s a greater opportunity for scammers to successfully compromise account data from eCommerce merchants and monetize it.
  • Phishing and Social Engineering: The advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) over the past year provides threat actors with the ability to create highly customized phishing campaigns, making it harder for consumers to spot fakes. Fraudsters also create phishing websites, often using malvertising (malicious advertising) and other illicit search engine optimization (SEO) tactics on retail or service websites to entice victims.
  • Physical Theft: Threat actors may attempt to physically steal payment cards and/or phones from unsuspecting consumers in crowded retail stores, shopping malls, or parking lots.

Paul Fabara, Chief Risk Officer, Visa, said:

“Crooks prepare all year for the holiday shopping season, taking advantage of increased activity and consumers who let their guard down searching for the perfect gift.”

Habits to Help Consumers Shop Securely

  • Double Check Reputation and Authenticity of Retailers: Stick to trusted and retailers you know well. If you’re considering a purchase from a store you’re not familiar with, do some research to check their reputation and authenticity.
  • Secure Your Personal Information: Make sure the website uses secure technology. When at the checkout, the website address should start with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for secure and means that your data is being encrypted and sent over a secure connection.
  • Avoid Public Wi-Fi for Shopping: Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured, which makes it easier for hackers to steal your information. Always use a secure, private internet connection when you’re making purchases.

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