Credit card fraudsters, phishers and cyber criminals are likely to aggressively target South African football fans and international tourists to the country during the upcoming 2010 Fifa World Cup.

That’s according to Jackie Barwell, manager for financial crime products at Actimize, a multinational financial crime, risk and compliance solutions company. Barwell was in South Africa to present at the recent Cards Africa 2010 Conference and Exhibition.
She says that major events such as the World Cup always see a significant rise in online attacks and credit card fraud as criminals move to take advantage of a flood of international visitors and of public demand for tickets and services.
Attacks increased sharply before and during the 2006 World Cup and the 2008 Olympics. There was also a spike in spam and phishing mails in December 2009 when final fixtures were announced for the 2010 World Cup.
There will be an increase in credit card scams and online attacks from professional criminal syndicates who have been planning for the event as carefully as government and legitimate businesses, as well as from opportunistic amateurs, predicts Barwell.
“Because of the increased volume of amateurish ‘noise’ created by the opportunists, many of the phishing emails created by organised criminals will look incredibly professional. These more professional mails will direct unsuspecting victims to convincing Web pages asking for credit card details or online banking log-ins,” says Barwell. “Credit card and ATM card scams, including skimming, will be on the rise as well.”
Consumers, merchants and financial service providers will need to be vigilant in the last few weeks leading up to the World Cup and during the event itself, she adds.
Consumers should only log directly to their banks’ Web sites and not follow any email links at all. They should also not let their bank cards out of their sight at any time.
Merchants should also take extra care, and train their staff to spot counterfeit cards. Fraud awareness should be raised during the run-up to the World Cup, while the event is running and after the event.
As for the banks, some of the more proactive institutions have already invested in real-time solutions that allow them to monitor ATM, debit and credit card transactions as well as Web transactions for possible fraudulent activity, says Barwell.
Whether they have implemented such solutions or not, South African banks should embark on programmes that educate their customers and international visitors about the potential card and online fraud threats that they face during the World Cup, she says.
The growing incidence and sophistication of the fraud threats that will arise during the World Cup help to highlight how inadequate the traditional approaches to risk management and fraud prevention are in a world characterised by complex, real-time transactions across a range of channels, Barwell says.
“Growing use of debit cards for online purchases, new products like prepaid and travel cards and growing card-not-present fraud, and fraudsters targeting their victims at the customer level – across products and channels, are just a few of the challenges financial institutions around the world are grappling with,” she adds. “Legacy fraud prevention solutions, which require huge amounts of data to create new detection scenarios can’t keep up. Many older solutions also generate high proportions of false positives, inconveniencing customers.”
Banks need flexible solutions that make use of multi-behavioural profiling at the card, customer and merchant level. The solutions should use multiple scoring tiers and sophisticated analytics to identify high-risk transactions in real-time without incorrectly flagging a high volume of legitimate transactions as potentially fraudulent ones.