ThreatMetrix Cites Cybersecurity Strategies to Avoid Getting Stung by Cupid’s Arrow Leading up to Valentine’s Day

Posted on February 4th, 2015 by Dan Rampe

Standard-Header-AB

Increase in Consumer Spending and Mobile Dating App Usage Go Hand-in-Hand with Increased Online Fraud

San Jose, CA – February 4, 2015 – ThreatMetrix®, the fastest-growing provider of context-based security and advanced fraud prevention solutions, today announced several strategies for consumers to stay protected against online dating fraud and e-commerce risks leading up to Valentine’s Day.

According to the National Retail Federation, Valentine’s Day spending will reach an all-time high of $18.9 billion, much of which will be spent online. Additionally, online shoppers will spend an average of 40 percent more than offline shoppers leading up to Valentine’s Day. With this increase in spending, shoppers and e-commerce websites are a prime target for cybercriminals leading up to Valentine’s Day.

“Online shopping risks surrounding Valentine’s Day should be considered in the same light as the holiday shopping season and any other significant spending day,” said Andreas Baumhof, chief technology officer, ThreatMetrix. “Consumers must make sure to only purchase from legitimate websites, use unique passwords across websites and avoid storing credit card information online. To keep consumers protected online without added friction, retailers should leverage a trust intelligence network to differentiate between authentic and suspicious transactions. Following the influx of data breaches in 2014, there is a much higher risk of stolen identities in use, so retailers must watch out for red flags such as changes in IP addresses, shipping addresses or login credentials.”

Online fraud and cybercrime surrounding Valentine’s Day goes beyond online shopping. Consumers must also be wary of risks associated with phishing emails and online dating. ThreatMetrix has identified several preventative measures for consumers to avoid falling victim to cybercrime this Valentine’s Day and throughout the year. These include:

  • Only open emails from trusted sources – Surrounding any major shopping holiday – including Valentine’s Day – cybercriminals seize the opportunity to send phishing emails disguised as receipts from a recent purchase. If a consumer purchases flowers for example, he or she may receive a fake email receipt and once the email is opened, it will download malware on the user’s computer. Consumers must only open emails from trusted sources and websites, even if the subject line looks familiar.
  • Limit information shared on mobile dating apps – Mobile dating apps such as Hinge, Tinder and Zoosk have exploded in popularity and according to Venture Capital Journal, such apps have raised more than $70 million in capital in recent years. Consumers must exercise the same caution they use with other online activity including only downloading mobile apps from legitimate sources such as the Apple Store. Location-based dating apps also pose risks for consumers, as the more information shared with dating apps – including location, phone number and email address – the more information a fraudster as to piece together and steal an identity. To mitigate risks, consumers should limit the amount of information they share on dating apps, social media and elsewhere.
  • Exercise caution with online dating – While one in 10 Americans have used an online dating site or mobile app, cybercriminals often create fake profiles to scam online customers or steal identities. One red flag to look out for includes a potential match claiming to be from Nigeria and requesting a wire transfer to cover travel costs. Another risk is when a user shares a link with his or her match, which in some cases turns out to be malicious and downloads software to steal personal information.

“Just as mobile and online spending continuously increases year-over-year, so does online dating and as the industry gains popularity, cybercriminals determine new ways to compromise identities,” said Baumhof. “In the online dating world, users have no way to determine if their matches are authentic or fraudulent. Therefore, consumers must prioritize privacy and cybersecurity when looking for love online this Valentine’s Day and online dating websites must put preventative measures in place to stop cybercriminals in their tracks. In fact, data from the ThreatMetrix® Global Trust Intelligence Network (The Network) suggests that fraudulent account registrations occur almost twice as often for online dating sites compared to the average across industries.”

The most effective way for online retailers and dating websites to differentiate between authentic and fraudulent activity is through information sharing, leveraging an anonymized global data repository, such as The Network, which analyzes over 850 million monthly transactions and protects more than 210 million active user accounts across 3,000 customers and 15,000 websites and mobile applications.

ThreatMetrix Resources

About ThreatMetrix

ThreatMetrix builds trust on the Internet by offering market-leading advanced fraud prevention and frictionless context-based security solutions. These solutions authenticate consumer and workforce access to mission critical applications using real-time identity and access analytics that leverage the world’s largest trusted identity network.

ThreatMetrix secures enterprise applications against account takeover, payment fraud, fraudulent account registrations resulting from malware, and data breaches. Underpinning the solution is the ThreatMetrix® Global Trust Intelligence Network, which analyzes over 850 million monthly transactions and protects more than 210 million active user accounts across 3,000 customers and 15,000 websites and mobile applications.

The ThreatMetrix solution is deployed across a variety of industries, including financial services, enterprise, e-commerce, payments, social networks, government and insurance.

For more information, visit www.threatmetrix.com or call 1-408-200-5755.

Join the cybersecurity conversation by visiting the ThreatMetrix blogFacebookLinkedIn and Twitter pages.

© 2015 ThreatMetrix. All rights reserved. ThreatMetrix, TrustDefender ID, TrustDefender Cloud, TrustDefender Mobile, TrustDefender Client, the TrustDefender Cybercrime Protection Platform, ThreatMetrix Labs, and the ThreatMetrix logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of ThreatMetrix in the United States and other countries. All other brand, service or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or owners.

Media Contacts

Dan Rampe
ThreatMetrix
Tel: 408-200-5716
Email: drampe@threatmetrix.com

Beth Kempton
Walker Sands Communications
Tel: 312-241-1178
Email: beth.kempton@walkersands.com

ThreatMetrix Tips for Avoiding a Valentine’s Day That Leaves You Heartbroken and Flat Broke

Posted on February 13th, 2014 by Dan Rampe

Valentines Day

What could be more romantic on Valentine’s Day than getting scammed? A date with Jack the Ripper perhaps? Hey, you don’t have to choose. It’s easy to be a victim of both. But ThreatMetrix™ has strategies to help you avoid becoming a victim of either.

Did you know Valentine’s Day is one of the top-spending holidays of the year? In fact the National Retail Federation projects spending this year will reach $17.3 billion with more than a quarter spent online.

“Around Valentine’s Day, consumers and retailers must take the same preventative measures as other peak shopping holidays including Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” said Alisdair Faulkner, chief products officer, ThreatMetrix. “Retailers must implement strategies to protect against malware attacks, account takeover and payment fraud. At the same time, consumers should only make purchases from legitimate e-commerce websites and refrain from using the same login information across websites.”

For a lot of people, the whole point of Valentine’s Day is making a special connection. So it’s no surprise the online dating industry rakes in $2 billion annually with 5.5 million active users in the U.S. Naturally, the huge number of people and big money involved has caught the attention of cybercriminals who’ve found sophisticated ways to compromise dating sites and bilk users of some $50 million per year.

Following are strategies to avoid becoming a casualty of love online. And they’re good to know for Valentine’s Day as well as the other 364 days:

• Be Wary of Red Flags in Dating Profiles – Cybercriminals often create fake profiles to lure users into sharing personal information or wiring money. Red flags include a prospective date claiming to be an alumnus of an Ivy League school, yet he/she has poor grammar. Another warning sign is a dating match claiming to be located in another country, such as Nigeria, and asking the user to wire money for travel expenses.

• Download Mobile Apps From Legitimate Sources – Mobile dating revenue is projected to double over the next five years. With an ever increasing number of mobile dating applications, consumers should only download from official app stores to guard against cybercriminals compromising personal information or downloading malware onto mobile devices.

• Use Caution with Location-Based Mobile Apps – Many of today’s mobile dating apps are location-based by city or state. Sharing your location offers cybercriminals one piece of the puzzle for compromising an identity. The more information (telephone number and email address) that’s shared the easier it is for a cybercriminal to compromise a user’s online identity.

• Evaluate Privacy Policies – Review the privacy policies for mobile apps and dating sites. Make sure data is encrypted to protect against breaches and isn’t being shared with third party sources for marketing or sales. Particularly concerning are apps that don’t encrypt information in transit. These can be intercepted on public Wi-Fi. Also, do a search to see if the dating site you’re thinking about using has previously had cybercrime issues.

“In the online dating world, nobody knows whether they are talking to Prince Charming or a ‘prince’ from a Nigerian dating scam,” said Faulkner. “Consumers must prioritize online security and privacy to protect their identities. In addition, consumers should not be hesitant to report a red flag or scam, which will help dating websites assure such instances will not happen again.”

When it comes to online dating, it’s up to consumers to exercise caution and common sense. For their part, companies, which want to ensure their websites and apps are safe while delivering an enjoyable user experience, should implement frictionless two-factor and context-based authentication for detecting suspicious access attempts without hassling the user.

Utilizing a global data repository that can process transactions in real time and verify their authenticity against user profiles helps protect the customer without inconveniencing him/her. The ThreatMetrix™ Global Trust Intelligence Network, the most comprehensive repository of identity and fraud data in the world, protects hundreds of millions of users and data points each day. Its real-time analytics evaluate logins, payments, new account registrations and remote access attempts for validity to continuously build trust on the Internet.

ThreatMetrix secures Web transactions against account takeoverpayment fraudidentity spoofing, malware, and data breaches. The ThreatMetrix Global Trust Intelligence Network, which analyzes 500 million monthly transactions, provides context-based authentication and Web fraud prevention to help companies accelerate revenue, reduce costs and eliminate friction. ThreatMetrix protects more than 160 million active user accounts, 2,500 customers and 10,000 websites across a variety of industries, including financial servicesenterprisee-commerce, payments, social networks, government, and insurance. For more information, visit www.threatmetrix.com or call 1-408-200-5755.

Join the cybersecurity conversation by visiting the ThreatMetrix blogFacebookLinkedIn and Twitter pages.