Summer is heating up, and so is fraud. Our Trust and Safety Architects at Sift share their insights on emerging online fraud trends and tips for effective risk prevention. Discover the latest fraud-related news in our Digital Trust & Safety Roundup, including spikes in travel fraud, content abuse, and account takeover (ATO).
The travel fraud nightmare of Summer 2022
As summer travel ramps up, fraudsters set their sights on travelers’ frequent flier miles and hotel points. Sift uncovered multiple travel scams where fraudsters offered fraudulent airline gift cards at 30% off and sold stolen frequent flier miles and hotel points.
“Year over year there’s been about a 400% increase in fraud attempted within the travel industry, and to make it worse, the amount of fraud attempted is up about 754% year-over-year, so more fraud (is) happening at larger dollar amounts,” Jeff Sakasegawa said.
“It’s usually done with stolen payment methods or hacked accounts truthfully. Look out for authorized resellers or preferred partners of these businesses, sometimes I know these programs do exist, but oftentimes are just fake friends for fraudsters to lull you into a complacent state to work with them.”
The rise in digital transactions, coupled with inflation and pent-up demand, has created prime conditions for an epidemic of content fraud. Content abuse is increasingly being used to swindle consumers and businesses, with blocked content fraud jumping 28% from 2021 to 2022 across Sift’s global network. Scams in particular have become the method of choice among fraudsters, with 62% of consumers encountering scams more frequently than any other type of fraudulent content.
“Businesses can’t keep turning a blind eye to content abuse,” Lee says. “Catching scams on one platform could prevent downstream disasters involving account takeover and financial theft on countless other sites,” said Jane Lee.
Everything you need to know about account takeover
ATO attacks have surged 307% between 2019 and 2021, with more fraudsters seeing the potential to go beyond accessing payment information, including stored credit cards.
“More often than not, fraudsters don’t steal loyalty points or make unauthorized purchases immediately after they’ve hacked an account. Instead, they find it more valuable to use the account to execute other scams such as selling credit card numbers or testing users’ credentials across high-value accounts. This lag in action allows criminals to stockpile stolen account credentials, effectively scaling their ability to attack again and maximize profits,” said Brittany Allen, Trust and Safety Architect at Sift.
“Fraud prevention specialists need to understand that fraud is constantly evolving, becoming more sophisticated, and impacting business growth—whether organizations believe it or not. With the massive shift to digital commerce and online everything during the pandemic, the fraud landscape is different than it was just two years ago, and beating back attacks is critical.”
Sift’s Jane Lee recently went undercover to examine the inner workings of Pig Butchering, a crypto scam targeting online daters. These scams are becoming more and more commonplace, with one in 20 people who approached her on dating apps working the scam. Lee says she has connected with many “Bay Area-based folks that have either been targeted by the scammers or know somebody that has been targeted.”
“What makes it so believable is the technological sophistication,” said Lee. “These relationships are built over time. It actually carries on and on, and it’s quite elaborate.”
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