New Visa Report Tells Consumers to Stay Alert this Holiday Shopping Season
In the Holiday Edition Threats Report,
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 time1. 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.
- ATM / POS Skimming: With the increase in foot traffic at brick-and-mortar merchants and ATMs, threat actors will likely target ATM and POS terminals with skimming attacks.
OTP Bypassand Provisioning Fraud: Visaidentified many one-time-passcode (OTP) bypass schemes to gain access to cardholders’ accounts. In this scheme, OTP templates are sent to the victims that appear to be associated with desired purchase.
- 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.
“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,” said
10 Habits to Help Consumers Shop Securely
Visa’s 10 Habits for Good Security Hygiene can guide consumers who are planning to shop this holiday season on best practices to stay safe. Highlights from Visa’s tips include:
- 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.
- Beware of Deals That Are Too Good to Be True: Offers on websites and in unsolicited emails can often sound too good to be true, especially extremely low prices on hard-to-get items. Consumers should be suspicious of such deals, as they often are.
1 Top merchant categories include home improvement and supply, telecommunications, business to business, healthcare, automotive, entertainment, education and government, lodging, insurance, airlines, and drug store and pharmacies.