UL Talks Fraud for Christmas

December 15, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Yes, we’re still fully embroiled in the Christmas shopping season—not to mention neck-deep in Hanukkah—and the accompanying shopping that both seasons represent. The bad news is that this extra traffic in mobile payments, and the like is drawing hackers out of the woodwork to try and land their illicit slice of holiday season revenue. UL recently reached out to us about how to take on this growing scourge, and it turns out that both shoppers and retailers alike can work together to better stop this development.

First, UL spelled out how bad the problem is now and likely will be going forward. In just 2016, identity fraud had increased 16 percent over the previous year. With card fraud still strong and a steady growth in card-not-present transaction fraud, it gave the whole environment a dizzying upward push.

The good news here is that the Europay / Mastercard / Visa (EMV) standard, which has already taken hold of much of the market, has improved protection to the point where duplicating credit cards is now a much more difficult task. However, EMV technology doesn’t extend to online shopping; EMV protects a card, and in card-not-present transactions, there is no card to protect.

So UL offered some tips for shoppers to help keep fraud out of the holiday season. Start by considering a wallet platform instead of a card like Visa Checkout or even PayPal. Granted, these platforms aren’t usable everywhere—Amazon and PayPal largely refuse to work together without some kind of intermediary system—but the value of their token-based security is tough to pass up.

Naturally, users should regularly review credit card and bank statements for potential fraud, and keep passwords strong, even if they need to be written down. Try to vary passwords as well. Even merchants have some suggestions from UL, like monitoring sales transactions using IP address trackers and requesting card verification codes as part of transactions.

Some of these things can be a hassle, and others costly to implement. But in the end, protecting against fraud is the kind of thing we all have to work towards. Strengthening passwords and using tokenization are all a part of it, and if we want to keep fraud out of our holiday, a little extra inconvenience is a small price to pay.