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Five Fraudster’s New Year Resolutions

Increased online footfall and transactions mean more opportunities for fraudsters, especially when traffic peaks with holidays, sporting seasons and January sales, for instance. Fraudsters are adept at using peaks as camouflage, hiding in the traffic and using many techniques to perpetrate scams.

Here’s a look at the tactics fraudsters are gravitating towards to accomplish their New Year’s resolutions and what fraud detection techniques can protect against them.

1. Learn a new skill

Fraudsters leverage the latest technology to create ‘synthetic media’, whereby an individual’s image, video or voice is replaced with someone else’s likeness. Widely known thanks to viral deepfakes of popular figures such as Tom Cruise and Barack Obama, the technology is just now starting to be leveraged for more nefarious means. It’s been reported a single targeted voice-cloning scam cost a UAE. bank $35m, and an Elon Musk deepfake used as part of a public crypto scam cost US consumers $2m over six months.

Biometrics and the element of ‘liveness’ have never been more important in the age of the deepfake. Within a multi-layered approach to fraud prevention, businesses can protect against impersonation fraud like deepfakes by using sophisticated facial biometric verification technology that detects such spoofs without compromising the user experience.

2. Get creative  

The poor cousin to the more sophisticated deepfake is a 'cheapfake', a piece of existing media that has been manipulated or edited. Photoshop and other amateur manipulation can be used at onboarding to try and get past biometric defenses.

Across biometric fraud attempts, the two common types of fraud were a photo on the screen (50%) - where fraudsters capture a photo of an image on a screen as opposed to using their own face, and a spoof of the identity document (27%) - where fraudsters present the photo on the document instead of a real face during the biometric step. Fraudsters are going for the lower-hanging fruit, the easier but cruder attempts to bypass identity verification. If seeking biometric verification technology, businesses should ensure it offers high assurance and protection from sophisticated attack methods like display attacks and 2D/3D masks.

3. Seek new investment opportunities

On the dark web, fraudsters can take their pick from passports, driving licenses, and other forged documents — in fact, an EU passport will only set you back an average of $3,800, while scanned US driving licenses can sell for as little as $150. Fraudsters can then either attempt to use the document or create a synthetic ID by combining real personal information bought from the Dark Web with fabricated personal information. 85% of all fraud is estimated to be linked to synthetic identity fraud.

When onboarding customers, businesses must be able to tell the fake from the genuine - a complex problem when you are operating in the global digital economy with hundreds of different identity documents from across the world. Automated identity verification and KYC solutions can keep businesses ahead of fraudsters with AI that’s continuously improved for accuracy. Good solutions will help businesses keep fraud out without making legitimate customers wait.

4. Reach out to someone new

Phone number spoofing scams are when fraudsters deliberately change the Caller ID in order to hide their identity and mimic another person or organization. Identity thieves are adept at spoofing calls and claiming to be from a person’s bank or other trusted organization to glean personal information or persuade them to make a payment.

In November 2022, more than 100 people were arrested by the Met Police in the UK’s biggest anti-fraud operation when they took down iSpoof, a spoof calling site. More than 200,000 possible victims were contacted by people posing as employees from the biggest banks in the country, with a staggering 10 million calls via iSpoof made globally in just 12 months.

Categorised as a form of social engineering, businesses must ensure that their consumers are aware of these risks and can identify such threats. Fraudsters will rinse and repeat successful scams and social engineering techniques. Identity solutions that catch repeat fraud attempts can help businesses check if the same face has been used to create an account before, providing an additional layer of biometric protection at onboarding. 

5. Join a community

The days of lone wolves dominating the cyber-landscape have been eclipsed by hyper-connected fraud rings. They are organized, smart and constantly innovating. One preferred approach by fraud rings is repeat fraud, where they create thousands of variations of the same document by tweaking minor details each time. They then use these for activities such as opening thousands of accounts to cash in on promotional sign-ups of cash bonus abuse. Crucially, fraud rings leverage these ‘low sophistication’ identity attacks with the resources and workforce to scale attacks at speed to target platforms and services en masse.

Businesses can mitigate fraud with identity verification methods that catch repeat fraud. It should operate in the background when a user undergoes Document Verification, comparing document data to historic onboarded documents to detect repeat ID document usage.

Unlike many New Year’s resolutions, fraud is all year round

In the global digital economy, businesses and individuals are more connected across the globe than ever before, able to traverse regions and time zones. This hyperconnectivity means there are no 'business hours' for fraudsters and sophisticated fraud rings — they will scam and defraud 24/7. Organizations need layers of defenses that protect their business and customers every hour of every day from fraudsters across the globe. And with the myriad of ways fraudsters have to game the system, it’s time to cover fraudsters’ blind spots, by offering a multi-layered, real time defense with zero additional friction.



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