When it comes to fraud, some things change, and some things stay the same. In 2021, a wave of new online consumers and social media users gave fraudsters an excuse to use some tried-and-true fraud methods on an entirely new set of consumers.
Phishing and Triangulation Fraud Are Increasing
When consumers had no choice but to buy online, they became more susceptible to seemingly innocent opportunities to get information (sign up here to get the vaccine, find out if you’re eligible for financial relief, etc.). Fraudsters used these emails to collect information that consumers would normally never give out.
Often, those “opportunity” sites require a username and password, and most people use the same passwords for everything.
Fraudsters then take the swath of usernames and passwords to log on to major online retailer sites and take over the accounts. And if the consumer stored their credit card information on the site, a fraudster could just make a purchase and be done.
Triangulation fraud also made its way back into practice with the pandemic. Here’s how it works
- Fraudsters create a fake website that sells legitimate products at a much lower cost than it can be purchased elsewhere.
- An unknowing consumer enters their credit card information to make a purchase.
- The fraudster then uses a different (but stolen) credit card to buy the product from the legitimate retailer.
- The fraudster ships the product to the consumer (who’s now unwittingly complicit to fraud), pockets the payment and uses that same consumer’s credit card for their next triangulation scheme.