The happiest time of the year could easily turn sad and stressful, as scam and fraud rates increase, according to the latest Holiday Edition Threats Report of Visa Inc.
In a statement, Visa said holiday fraud rate is expected to increase due to higher e-commerce activities and in-person spending across the retail and hospitality segments.
In 2022, Visa noted there was an 11 percent increase in fraud and scams during the holidays over the non-holiday and an 8 percent increase year-on-year.
“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,” Jeff Navarro, Visa’s Country Manager for the Philippines, said in a statement.
The Holiday Edition Threats Report warned that threat actors would seek to exploit consumers’ increased interest and urgency in finding deals and one-of-a-kind gifts.
The findings showed there could be more scams and fraud committed, such as digital skimming where customer’s account data are compromised as well as ATM/POS skimming since threat actors will likely target these terminals with skimming attacks.
Visa also said there is a heightened threat from phishing and social engineering given the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) over the past year. This makes it harder for consumers to spot fakes.
The report stated that fraudsters can also create phishing websites, often using malvertising (malicious advertising) and other illicit search engine optimization (SEO) tactics on retail or service web sites to entice victims.
Other types of threats include One-Time-Pin (OTP) Bypass and Provisioning Fraud. Visa said it identified many one-time-passcode (OTP) bypass schemes to gain access to cardholders’ accounts where OTP templates are sent to the victims that appear to be associated with a desired purchase.
Another threat is physical theft where threat actors may attempt to physically steal payment cards and/or phones from unsuspecting consumers in crowded retail stores, shopping malls, or parking lots.
“At Visa, we are committed to security and reliability, with a promise of 24/7 threat monitoring, even during the busiest time of the year,” Navarro said.
“Our updated Security Roadmap for the Philippines is designed to provide enhanced protection for transactions made online and at physical retailers,” he added.
Navarro also said Visa partnered with government and clients through the education of consumers to increase digital and fraud awareness.
“Consumers can rest easy this holiday season knowing Visa’s team of experts is working around the clock to stop fraud in its tracks,” he said.
But consumers can also prevent becoming victims to scams and fraud. Visa recommended its 10 Habits for Good Security Hygiene.
These 10 habits include double checking the reputation and authenticity of retailers; securing their personal information; avoiding public Wi-Fi networks and only using private internet connections when making purchases; and being more aware of “too good to be true” deals that could turn out to be scams.
Visa has invested more than $10 billion in technology to reduce fraud and increase network security. More than a thousand dedicated specialists protect Visa’s network from malware, zero-day attacks and insider threats 24x7x365.
In the first six months of 2023, Visa helped to proactively block $30 billion in fraud, preventing many from ever knowing they were at risk of a potential fraudulent transaction.