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Tis the season to be jolly - Ho Ho Hopefully!

The UK’s Fraud Prevention Service wants to remind Christmas shoppers to be ultra-prudent with their personal and financial details. The numbers show an increase of 23% in the number of victims of account take over in the last two months alone which is quite a staggering increase really.

Such numbers clearly show that hackers, fraudsters, cyber-criminals and the like will never go away and will evolve and adapt as our payment landscape evolves too. The basic steps outlined by CIFAS are helpful as a reminder and by all means valid and well thought through. After all, one can’t be too careful these days given that fraudsters will stop at nothing to get hold of your personal data. It does make me think however that a lot more can be done by the industry in the continuous fight against fraud, and there is no doubt in my mind that the best way to fight fraud is to encourage industry collaboration and work with banks on setting strong authentication standards.

Whilst some consumers may be scared off by these latest statistics, the majority will carry on regardless, and whilst it is of course a numbers game, the vast majority of online consumers will be safe. In fairness, consumers should expect to be safe online and that they are protected by the various service providers and financial institutions. Most consumers will believe that this is the case until they themselves are the victim of identity theft of fraud, and unfortunately when that happens the experience and consequences can be very nasty indeed and their trust in the industry is shattered. Better then that the industry steps up to its obligations now and starts to take security very seriously indeed. There should be zero tolerance for fraud – zero provision in the budget - and the industry needs to step up to its responsibilities to ensure that this is the case. Whilst it is a very difficult task indeed to prevent identity theft, and the correlation between identity theft and subsequent fraud is clearly proven, I am of the view that improving our capabilities before the fraud event, or as the event is occurring is the desired result. Being able to determine the difference between a fraud event and a false positive is of course the ultimate weapon in the defence against crime, and the ultimate in terms of best practice consumer protection and customer satisfaction. The key of course lies in the security architecture, built from the ground up to reflect the individual transaction needs of the new payments landscape, providing the highest levels of security and privacy by combining invisible security layers, and low or no friction on the consumer side. Consumers will be quick to recognise the brand of trust that provides them with the assurance that their identity is assured, their transactions are secure and their interactions are intuitive – in short, ensuring a very merry Christmas for all!


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Pat Carroll

Pat Carroll

Founder/Executive Chairman


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17 Mar 2011



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