Beat Fraudsters at Their Own Games

Prepare for emerging fraud trends.

February 16, 2015

Beat Fraudsters at Their Own Games

Board game enthusiasts in France have opportunity as “Monopoly Maker Secretly Includes Real Money in Special Edition of the Game,” says an article at

The currency swap will delight at least 80 buyers in celebration of the 80th anniversary of Monopoly’s debut in France.

One lucky buyer “will land the major jackpot, in which every game note is replaced by real money—for a total windfall of 20,580 euros [$23,268].”

The remaining surprise sets award lesser monetary prizes.

As some happily surprised Monopoly players in France find extra dollars, many consumers and financial providers are having less fortunate surprises--losing real money to data breaches, evolving fraud tactics, and other security threats.

This week, discover emerging fraud trends. With such preparedness, fraudsters “Do Not Pass Go.”  

Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not collect $200.

“Technology will give fraudsters an edge in 2015, but it will also provide new tools for organizations and investigators,” says an Accounting Today article.

Fraud expert analysis reveals:

  • Innovative technology contributes to increasingly complex fraud schemes;
  • Innovative technology likewise detects crime;
  • Need for improved information security persists in light of data breaches of large retailers;
  • Digital currency disrupts traditional fraud risk—“vendors/sellers face reduced… risk from ‘friendly fraud’” and “consumers face an increased risk of fraud by dishonest sellers;”
  • Increased whistleblower protections “incentivize whistleblowing regarding bribery, tax evasion, and corporate accounting fraud;”
  • Financial statement fraud is expected to make a comeback; and
  • Credit card protections evolve with smart cards and embossed cards.

EY Names Top Fraud and Corruption Trends for 2015.” The company reports there will be a “dramatic rise in cyber security risk” as “bribery and corruption… challenge industries and their boards, especially in highly regulated industries such as financial services.”

Financial providers need to know:

  • “Intense regulatory scrutiny” remains as mortgages, student loans, and credit card offerings expand to non-traditional providers;
  • “Scrutiny of potential manipulation of financial institutions will continue in 2015;”
  • Public trading venues face increased regulation; and
  • Global institutions should expect increased regulation regarding money laundering, economic sanctions, bribery, and other issues requiring “robust controls.”

Pay poor tax of $15.

Phishers Hone Their Scams with Texts, Phone Calls, Big Data,” says American Banker. Social media provides criminals information on consumer and business targets, allowing them to better “masquerade as executives, suppliers or customers.”

The FBI and National White Collar Crime Center tracked data on fake emails used to produce false wire transfers, called “business email compromise.”

In 2014, 1,198 victims fell prey to the scam, losing $179 million in the U.S. Worldwide losses total $214 million.

Easy access to personal information of employees and executives allows criminals to carry out detailed schemes via business email, such as targeting financial advisors or workers in the back-office.

Companies must be wary of information posted online, including job responsibilities, org charts, and staff schedules.

A post at indicates fraud shifts to mobile platforms as more and more consumers use smartphones.

A challenge for security staff with this evolution is tactics used to fight crime on PCs “don’t translate well to mobile.”

“Permission-ware” prompts phone users to download applications and run them on their devices; one mobile threat. Hidden apps are then launched with use of legitimate apps, and proceed to ask for more data.

“In 2015, we will see the mobile channel leveraged more and more in attacks like this.”

Meanwhile, “Malware Containment Continues to Weigh Heavily on Organizations,” says eWeek.

Tracking malware is costly, according to a new study. Organizations spend “approximately 395 hours a week chasing down alerts that aren’t always accurate.”

Companies face, on average, 16,937 malware alerts weekly.

“Of those alerts, only 19% are… reliable… and only 4% are actually investigated,” which translates into uninvestigated alerts. Further, wasted time spent chasing false alarms costs $1.3 million.

One-third of survey participants say they have “informal unstructured approach to malware containment” and “only 41%... have automated tools.”

You have been elected chairman of the board.

Another problem is “Retailers Not Ready for EMV,” according to Banking Exchange. Europay, MasterCard, Visa (EMV) card technology adoption is required by October 2015 for U.S. retailers to prevent liability on card fraud, but “efforts lag.”

One-fourth of survey participants “are not fully prepared” for chip and PIN. Costs of 2014 data breaches affect investments in security initiatives for 59%.

“Data breaches are top-of-mind for retailers,” yet many aren’t fully prepared.

Consumers just want assurance their data is safe, says the article.

One approach: “Temporary Credit Card Numbers Safeguard Cyber-shoppers,” notes the Detroit Free Press. “Virtual account numbers or single-use cards” protect users with spending limits and short credit availability.

“The advantage is it gives the user some sense of security because you’re not giving them your real card number and exposing your full credit line.”

Card users pay two-thirds of $5.47 billion annually in card fraud, and some consumers like the protection disposable cards offer.

Industry experts are split. Some believe the need for such cards does not exist; some think it does.

A plain and simple preventive measure in fighting fraud is to learn “How Was Your Credit Card Stolen?” according to

Common hacker tactics include malicious software installation on point-of-sale devices, processing breaches at transaction-handling companies, hacked merchants, skimming devices at ATMs and gas pumps, conniving employees, lost cards, malware, and improper disposal of card data by merchants or others.

“To win monopoly, you need to bankrupt all of your opponents,” says Perhaps that’s a rule fraudsters follow in playing their devious games.

Don’t pick a “Chance” card with your security efforts.

“While luck is a factor in winning Monopoly, fortune can be fickle—easily turning against you when your guard is down. You can learn how to craft the smartest strategy to maximize your opportunities and give yourself a chance to win.”

LORA BRAY is an information research analyst for CUNA’s economics and statistics department. Follow her on Twitter via @Bray_Lora and visit the CUNA blog, “The Research Roundup: Economic Perspectives.”