‘Tis the season for giving and shopping, but it’s also a fraudster’s paradise and a prime time for them to be sneaky.
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Gift items that criminals usually target online are generally valuable, but not too pricey, says Michael Reitblat, co-founder and CEO of Forter, a fraud prevention company.
“This enables online criminals to slip under the radar of suspicion because many merchants that rely on manual reviewers to catch criminals in the act don’t have the scale to scrutinize every purchase for suspicious behavior,” Reitblat tells FOX Business.
But he adds that the vast majority of goods on fraudsters’ wish lists this year are still popular enough, which makes them easy for thieves to resell.
Among this year’s list of top items includes designer shoes, gaming consoles, makeup palettes and gift cards.
“Gift cards purchased online are especially attractive target for fraudsters because they do not require a shipping address that could potentially signal a transaction as fraudulent,” he added. “Further, gift cards are available for use instantly and are a popular holiday present amongst legitimate customers, allowing fraudsters to quickly resell and monetize their fraudulent purchase without detection.”
Big retailers such as Walmart, Target and Best Buy have all made drastic changes this year to their gift card programs in an attempt to curb fraud from happening, as reported by FOX Business.
And Reitblat says with more than one-third of U.S. consumers having had their data stolen within the last year from a slew of company breaches, including the most recent attack on Marriott, which potentially exposed the personal information of 500 million guests, this year could bring more criminal activity.
Given this heightened threat, he advises consumers to diligently monitor their credit card statements for suspicious activity and to change their passwords regularly.
Here is the list of items on Forter’s 2018 Fraudster Wish List. • Designer Shoes and WatchesWatches remained a popular target, with the Tissot Collection seeing attacks more than two times greater than average. Louboutin “So Kate” pointy toe pump (in numerous colors) and Balenciaga heels were also attacked at almost double their normal rates.•Winter Apparel Regardless of price point, fleece hoodies and waterproof boots were hot targets over the Thanksgiving weekend. •Makeup Palettes Beauty kits (such as those with a range of eye shadow colors) were particularly in vogue with the criminal community. Fairly neutral colors, such as the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette, were the top pick this year.•Gift Cards The top industries targeted for gift card fraud were sports equipment and gaming goods, with Xbox digital goods seeing attack rates nearly ten times above average. In regard to sporting events, games involving the Golden State Warriors also got a bit of extra attention from fraudsters.•Alcohol Alcohol was a popular target this year, with high-end silver tequila and Cognac taking the top spots. •Travel Airlines offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals saw an increase in fraud attacks. The most popular routes were domestic U.S. flights and flights to London and Cairo, Egypt. Cairo, which is not typically a popular route with fraudsters, saw ten times more attacks than normal.•Gaming Consoles PS4s and Xboxes were extremely popular with fraudsters this year, part of a trend that saw three times the typical number of attacks on gaming consoles over Thanksgiving weekend. Limited edition consoles, like the Spiderman PS4 and Minecraft Xbox, particularly appealed to fraudsters. •Electronics MacBook Pros and accessories continued to be popular with online criminals in 2018, as they were last year.