National Consumer Protection Week — as the week comes to a close, I wanted to share some interesting information on credit card fraud. Per a study by Javelin Strategy & Research and LifeLock, Inc. in 2016 15.4 million U.S. consumers were victims of credit card fraud. This activity racked up $16 billion in total losses. 2016’s number reflects an 18% increase in the number of victims of credit card fraud compared to numbers for 2015.
With innovations in credit card security measures being implemented by the credit card industry, you would think credit card fraud rates would be plummeting, so why the spike? Most card issuers in the U.S. have already issued cards with the embedded chips, magnetic strips were supposed to be going away and merchants are implementing more security measures.
Here are a few theories, according to data from the study: Fraudulent online purchases, which involve criminal counterfeiting of debit and credit cards already held by customers, have increased. Online shoppers have no way to use a credit card embedded chip to make purchases, do not have to be present at the sale, show a signature or photo ID if asked to by a merchant – all you need to do is enter the credit card number, expiration date and security code to complete an online purchase. This makes things easier for criminals trolling and phishing for information.
Another reason why the rates of credit card fraud persist in going up despite innovations being implemented could be that nearly half of fraudulent credit card purchases were made with credit card accounts that had embedded chips, but were made online or at stores that have not put the chip-enabled terminals into use. At this point in time, 64% of storefront merchants only accept magnetic strip credit card purchases.
On the horizon: Tokenization – a unique code generated for every credit card transaction to be approved instead of approving purchases by a credit card account number. Vulnerability gets tied to one fraudulent transaction rather than the account/card and many transactions.
My recommendations: if making a credit card purchase online, make sure you are at a trusted site and not clicking on a link (go to the web site yourself instead of clicking on links sent to you). If out in the community making a purchase, if the merchant isn’t using the chip reader and still using the magnetic strip reader you may want to think twice, or at least ask the merchant when they will be using the chip reader. Many feel the chip reader makes customers wait longer for approval or others in line have to wait longer, but realistically, what are a few extra seconds worth for added protection versus trying to clean up the mess of credit card fraud? Food for thought on our last day of National Consumer Protection Week.
Hunter’s Ridge Apartment Community – Thanks to community manager Susan K. for hosting a meeting with a lot of good interaction between residents, management and myself. I hope the residents all learned something new about layering targets with extra measures of protection and how to safely report crime or suspicious incidents. We are all stakeholders in the Foothills and overall community and attending meetings like the one hosted by Hunter’s Ridge last night makes us a stronger community of stakeholders in the place where we call home.
Property crimes reported in the Foothills Area Command on Thursday, March 9, 2017
1 Armed Robbery/Commercial: 2500-block of Juan Tabo Blvd NE.
7 Stolen Vehicles: 200-block of Figueroa, 9900-block of Chapala Dr NE, 3100-block of Jane Pl NE, 1900-block of Juan Tabo Blvd NE, 12800-block of Indian School Rd NE, 10200-block of Karen Ave NE, 10700 Academy Rd NE.
3 Residential Burglaries: 400-block of Dorado SE, 12800-block of Mountain Rd NE, 11800-block of Montgomery Blvd NE(apt): rptd 2139 hr, front door lock damaged, back screen door unlocked, stole tablet. Entries: damaging front door, drilling window lock, unforced entry. Items Stolen: Tablet, various items, nothing stolen but took a shower.
5 Auto Burglaries: 200-block of Tramway SE, 100-block of Hotel Circle NE, 3300-block of Juan Tabo, 10000-block of Spain Rd NE, 4600-block of Eubank Blvd NE. Entries: unlocked vehicles, broke a window. Items Stolen: vehicle registration and insurance documents, various items stolen from parked trailer, tote bag, tools, cell phone, credit cards, IDs.
Have a great weekend and I hope you enjoyed the series on consumer protection this week. Be safe,
Jill Garcia, Crime Prevention Specialist / ICPS, NCPS – APD, Foothills Area Command