With Major Summer Events and Vacations Around the Corner, ThreatMetrix Urges Consumers to Prioritize Online Fraud Precautions
San Jose, CA – May 22, 2014 – ThreatMetrix®, the fastest-growing provider of context-based security and advanced fraud prevention solutions, today announces several travel and ticketing scams for consumers and businesses to be aware of this summer.
According to a recent study by Orbitz.com, nearly 90 percent of Americans plan to travel this summer. Summer is also the most popular season for concerts, sporting events and other forms of ticketed entertainment. Unfortunately, the high volume of travel plans and tickets purchased online open the door for cybercriminals to target consumers, travel and ticketing sites for personal profit.
“Consumers aren’t walking into travel or ticket agents’ offices to make their summer plans anymore – they’re sacrificing security for convenience and taking their business online instead,” said Andreas Baumhof, chief technology officer, ThreatMetrix. “Necessary precautions must be taken to protect themselves from the increased risk of using digital channels for purchasing tickets and booking reservations. Between payment fraud, identity spoofing, fraudulent tickets and malware, there are significant risks consumers aren’t considering when planning summer fun.”
One of the biggest events of the year, the 2014 World Soccer Championship in Brazil, is taking place during the months of June and July this summer, with an estimated 3.7 million people expected to travel through Brazil during the event. As a result, the event will be a hotbed for fraudulent activity.
To help consumers protect themselves from fraud at the World Soccer Championship and other sporting events and large music festivals, there are several scams to be aware of. These include:
• Malicious links when streaming – For consumers who do not have the opportunity to attend major events this summer and choose to stream online, ThreatMetrix recommends only doing so from official event websites. Spectators streamed more than 26.7 million hours of the World Soccer Championship online in 2010, and that number is likely to increase this year. While it may be tempting to stream from seemingly faster or non-official sites, viewers should refrain from doing so in case any of the links are malicious, allowing cybercriminals to remotely download malware to viewers’ devices.
• Fraudulent apps – At many big events in recent years, associated apps have been made available through the app store – some with stats about players at sporting events, others with daily schedules at music festivals, and more. However, to protect against cybercrime threats, attendees should make sure to only download authentic, official event apps from the app store. Downloading fraudulent apps can expose mobile devices to malware and offer cybercriminals easy access to personal information stored on devices.
• Ticketing scams – Nearly five million people purchase event tickets (from concerts, sporting events, theme parks, etc.) that turn out to be fraudulent each year. Consumers must be wary of purchasing tickets from untrusted third parties, classified ad sites or scalpers and be sure to only purchase tickets from official event websites or approved resellers.
• Search Engine Poisoning – When searching for event information, be wary of clicking on random links to third-party websites. Only click on links to the official event website, news websites and other authentic sources.
• Public Wi-Fi – Public Wi-Fi is only as trustworthy as its weakest link. Consumers must be wary of accessing sensitive information online at major events, as it is likely that public Wi-Fi may be compromised. For spectators attending the World Soccer Championship, the shared event Wi-Fi network will likely be hosting hundreds of thousands of devices. Use caution and avoid activities such as online banking and accessing other sensitive information.
“The risks posed by major events like the 2014 World Soccer Championship are something every attendee and at-home viewer needs to be aware of,” said Baumhof. “With millions of people expected to travel to Brazil for the championship, and such a high number of consumers expected to travel in general this summer, consumers should also be aware of the many risks associated with all aspects of vacation spending – from airfare to souvenir purchases.”
When it comes to vacation, travelers expect a carefree time, but cybercriminals often have other plans in mind. Summer travelers should look out for red flags including:
• Unrealistic airfare or hotel deals – If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Travelers should be on the lookout for deals touting things like, “stay one night, stay the rest of the week free!”
• Nonexistent vacation rentals – As third-party vacation rentals shift more into the norm for travelers, consumers should be extra wary of who might be on the other end of those sites. In many cases, cybercriminals set up fraudulent online travel sites or deals to con travelers into booking nonexistent rentals or double booking. Consumers need to take extra precautions when using vacation home swapping websites, which are a prime target for cybercriminals.
• Credit card skimming– When traveling to new destinations and making purchases at shops you might not generally do business with, consumers should be aware of the risks of credit card skimming. Savvy cybercriminals can compromise point-of-sale systems and steal credit card information from unknowing tourists purchasing souvenirs or other items.
While consumers must do their part in prioritizing cybersecurity when attending major events or traveling this summer, vacation and ticketing businesses must also work to protect customers by differentiating between good and bad actors across all online transactions. By leveraging a global trusted identity network such as the ThreatMetrix® Global Trust Intelligence Network, businesses have access to real-time intelligence. This enables consistent risk assessments of data and creates a digital persona of users by mapping their online behaviors and devices to effectively differentiate between authentic and fraudulent online activities.
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, malware, and data breaches. Underpinning the solution is the ThreatMetrix® Global Trust Intelligence Network, which analyzes over 500 million monthly transactions and protects more than 160 million active user accounts across 2,500 customers and 10,000 websites.
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.
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