Banning popular criminal payment methods helps consumers spot phone fraud tactics

Posted on: December 10th, 2015 by Art Barger

Last week, I talked about the importance of educating consumers about holiday fraud schemes. As we know, once crooks obtain the right personal information, the next step is to target contact centers to take over and drain customer bank accounts.

The Federal Trade Commission recently took a big step to help mitigate social engineering threats at the consumer level by banning popular criminal payment methods including wire transfers, prepaid reload cards and checking account numbers. The goal of prohibiting remote payment methods that are preferred by criminals is to help tip off consumers to spoofed calls and other fraud activity.

In the article, “Phone Fraud Gets Harder as FTC Bans Payment Methods Favors by Crooks,” John Breyault, vice president at the National Consumers League who runs the website, said the new rules will make individuals more aware of potential threats and help reduce personal fraud losses.

“This rule change makes it much easier for people to spot phone fraud. Now, if someone calls you and says we want you to pay us with a wire transfer or cash reload card or by giving us the numbers on the bottom of your check, you know right away it’s a scam and you can hang up.”

While no one expects this to do away with telephone fraud as we know it, it’s a step in the right direction. Knowing what to look for when social engineers are impersonating their bank can prompt consumers to hang up before they give away too much personal details or get duped into setting up a payment method that allows crooks to get away with fast cash.

Criminals will continue to cook up new ways to trick consumers into divulging personal data that’s used to socially engineer bank contact centers. However, these changes give individuals something to be aware of when the phone rings.

Spoofed Caller IDs and bad actors will continue to trick people into thinking they are talking to a bank representative. These methods won’t be going away anytime soon, but banning fraudsters’ favorite payment methods will hopefully raise red flags for individuals even when a call appears to be genuine.

The TRUSTID® Physical Caller Authentication solution is all about helping banks spot spoofed calls earlier in the authentication process, thereby removing the opportunity for criminals to socially engineers call center agents. By banning the use of frequently used criminal payment methods, the FTC is helping consumers catch threats at one of the earliest stages, and in doing so, preventing identity theft that eventually leads to call center fraud.