Fraud & Identity Fraud & Identity

Fraud & Identity Featured Article

July 24, 2017

How to Defeat Account Takeover Fraud Once and for All

We spend a lot of time in this space discussing the horrors of telecommunications fraud. There are so many different ways in which fraudsters can use your mobile phones against you, and each new method that emerges seems to be worse than the previous. Fraud is on a steady upward climb, with each successful attack giving fraudsters more strength. However, the fact that fraudulent activity shows no signs of slowing down also indicates that not everyone is taking these threats seriously; it’s far too easy for people to think that they’ll never become victims.

That’s why it’s always so shocking when you receive a call from your bank or credit card company about suspicious account information. That’s what happened to Brooke Frizzell a few months back, when her bank called to ask if her husband, Craig, had really called to say he had forgotten his account password. Brooke confirmed that the call had been fraudulent but, unfortunately, the bank’s inquiry hadn’t been fast enough.

“Within the next half hour, this person [impersonating Craig] called the bank again, spoke to someone else and initiated a $3,500 wire transfer out of my savings account,” Brooke told CNBC.

This is just one example of thousands of account takeover (ATO) fraud cases that take place all the time. According to a Javelin Strategy & Research report from earlier this year, ATO fraud was up 31 percent in 2016 from 2015, and losses due to fraud hit $2.3 billion, a 61 percent increase over the same period.

The rise in ATO fraud can be attributed to the fact that it’s easy—plain and simple. Obviously not everyone at Brooke’s bank was properly trained on keeping fraud top of mind. The person who called her to check up on the suspicious activity followed proper protocol, but the person who took the second call and handed over the account information without a second thought was obviously not concerned with fraud at all.

Thieves look for the easiest targets, and this bank will now have a permanent place on their list because of how quickly they were able to steal someone’s account information. That’s why it’s so important for all companies that could potentially be affected by fraud—mobile carriers, financial institutions, marketers, credit card companies, etc.—to keep potential fraud on their radar all the time. Every single member of the organization needs to be suspicious of calls like this, because if they’re not, people’s account information and money will undoubtedly be stolen.

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