Don’t Let the Grinch Steal Your Christmas: Preventing Holiday Season Fraud

It’s that time of year again – the holidays are here, and everywhere you turn, you see the hustle and bustle of consumers eagerly (or desperately) searching for the perfect gifts to put under the tree. Unfortunately, the holiday season isn’t just for shoppers; it’s also prime time for financial fraudsters looking to conduct holiday season fraud. According to a 2020 survey by Experian, one in every four U.S. consumers reported they fell for a fraud scheme during the holidays.

As the demand for online shopping increases, so do the threats of identity theft, cyber-attacks, fraud, and malicious hackers. Banks and financial institutions must stay a step ahead by proactively protecting their customers from the Grinch-like fraudsters looking to steal their Christmas. By understanding the tactics and technologies to prevent fraud, banks can help ensure that their customers’ financial information stays safe and secure this holiday season.

Making Your Fraud Prevention List and Check It Twice

According to the Digital Holiday Fraud in 2022 Quarterly Analysis from TransUnion, financial fraudsters are often more active during the holiday season. This increase is because fraudsters know people are busy shopping, traveling, and spending more. They may not keep as close an eye on their finances. During the holidays, it is crucial to be aware of the risks that exist so that your organization can take the appropriate steps to protect your client’s money and your reputation. Phishing scams and stolen financial information are just some of the ways criminals try to steal money during the holiday season, but they can be devastating. Fraudsters may use a phishing email to gain access to your organization’s computers and accounts. With this information, they can make transfers using mule accounts, making withdrawals and transfers to drain as many funds as possible before they are detected. Though banks are always looking for ways to protect their customers from fraud, there are a few additional steps they can take during the holiday season to be even more vigilant:

1. Conduct a comprehensive fraud risk assessment before, during, and after the holidays arrive

An analysis of the fraud risk across the bank’s customer base and consumer assets can help determine which fraud risks are the most pressing. In addition, this analysis gives institutions the foresight to find the best technologies to use to bolster their fraud prevention strategy throughout the season and beyond.

2. Review and update account monitoring settings

Banks should ensure that fraud monitoring alerts are appropriately configured for all relevant customer accounts and bolster their monitoring system with advanced machine learning tools to detect anomalies in real-time. Doing so will allow banks to detect suspicious activity as soon as it happens, enabling fraud prevention experts to investigate and take appropriate action quickly.

3. Educate staff on the latest fraud trends

Banks should train employees on the latest fraud trends so that they can be on the lookout for suspicious activity and know how to report it. In addition, as this time of year often comes with adjusted spending habits for many, being aware of your client’s practices will help to cause fewer false positives while properly blocking fraud.

4. Leverage fraud prevention tools

Banks should have a proper and effective stack of solutions to detect and prevent uplifts in holiday season fraud. A full fraud prevention stack includes tools that monitor account transactions for suspicious activity, that can actively detect transactional data in real-time and block attacks in real-time. Having the right fraud prevention technologies allows you to block fraudulent activity while letting legitimate transactions complete. Customers become understandably irritated when false positives stop or delay their shopping activity, particularly at this time of year, and may switch to your competitors to complete their purchases.

Tips for your Customers to Help Them Avoid Holiday Season Fraud

While banks can do their part to protect customers from fraud, customers also have a responsibility to take steps to protect themselves. Consumers need to be vigilant during the holiday season and take steps to protect their money and information from fraudsters. Here are a few tips to share with your customers to help them avoid holiday season fraud:

  1. Remind your clients of the increase in fraud during the holiday season. Knowledge can sometimes be the best defense against financial fraud. Knowing what to look out for can help protect those unfamiliar with the current scams and financial frauds to prevent loss of money to fraud.
  2. Share the latest fraud trends. Fraud can happen to anyone but clients who stay up-to-date on recent scams will be better able to protect themselves. Knowing the risks and potential scams is a significant step in protecting their hard-earned money.
  3. Emphasize the dangers of sharing personal information online or over the phone. This includes their social security numbers, bank account information or passwords . Many fraudsters are persuasive, and the technologies they use mask phone numbers, location data, and credentials, making them seem like the real deal. When in doubt, don’t disclose personal information.

Adding INETCO BullzAI to your Holiday Wish List

Making sure your clients are not experiencing excess stress due to fraud and false positives during the holiday takes the right tools, which is why INETCO BullzAI (BullzAI) should be at the top of your Christmas List this year. Boasting a robust and data-rich fraud monitoring and prevention tool powered by both supervised and unsupervised machine learning, BullzAI proactively empowers financial institutions to fight fraud in real-time.

BullzAI provides precise fraud risk assessment using data collected at the most granular level, enabling financial institutions to take swift action to prevent fraud. Unlike most other fraud solutions, it detects anomalous transactions before they reach the authorization host. BullzAI’s machine learning engine builds unique omni-channel profiles for each customer and card/PAN, for more accurate fraud detection and fewer false positives. BullzAI integrates seamlessly with existing systems, providing an additional layer of security and covering parts of the threat landscape that other systems cannot.

Want to learn more about INETCO BullzAI and how it can better detect and prevent financial fraud? Contact us today to request a demo with one of our experts and see what BullzAI can do for your organization.

Happy Holidays from all of us at INETCO. We wish you and yours a healthy, prosperous 2023.