What You Can Do To Help Fight Mobile Payments Fraud

December 26, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Sure, it might sound like the kind of thing that would require a Thomas Nast-esque portrait of Uncle Sam in full regalia glowering and pointing from a poster, insisting that he wants YOU to stop mobile payments fraud, but it’s no less true for the evocative imagery. It’s actually quite possible, based on word from TCM Bank, to step in and take a few steps for yourself in protecting against mobile payments fraud.

First, TCM Bank revealed that its earlier predictions about mobile payments fraud seem to have panned out, including where it noted last year that there would be just one last burst of fraud as credit cards switched over to Europay / Mastercard / Visa (EMV) standards, a “going out of business” fraud run. Much of the fraudster industry subsequently moved to Card Not Present (CNP) fraud.

There are several sub-classes of fraud that focus on CNP. “Takeover fraud,” for example, calls on the fraudster to know just enough about the victim to pose as said victim, answer a few basic questions, and then take over the account by “forgetting” the passwords and similar identifiers. Meanwhile, “footprint fraud,” calls for the fraudster to mimic the customer’s spending habits precisely enough to commit fraud without setting off any pattern-detection issues.

So what can consumers do here? First, those with mobile banking or mobile payments apps that allow for SMS messaging when spotting unexpected purchases can start taking them, and taking them seriously. Second, take advantage of other tools like the ability to turn cards on and off. Third—and this takes a little help from credit monitoring services—open up the ability to check a credit score easily and safely.

Of course, there are some issues here; some customers won’t be particularly motivated to monitor their own cards for fraud. It’s not just a matter of motivation, either; plenty of people work for a living so their time is limited to do what most of them likely consider “someone else’s job.” Yet we must consider the issue that maybe us regular end users could do more.

Still, when it comes to mobile payments security, we’ve all got a job to do, and the regular end user can take a little more responsibility here as well.