Fraud Prevention Blog

Stephanie Cho

Recent Posts

EMV Not a Cure-All for Credit Card Fraud

Posted by Stephanie Cho on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 @ 03:32 PM

Chip-enabled (EMV) credit cards are designed to be more secure than magnetic stripe cards because the ability of the chip to create dynamic, single-use data that is nearly impossible for fraudsters to counterfeit. At least, that is how the main advantage of EMV credit cards was touted by the consortium of card-issuing banks and other institutions that had been suffering billions of dollars of losses for years leading up the October 1, 2015 deadline for US businesses to adopt the new EMV standard.

Topics: credit card fraud, fraud prevention, emv, credit card

Annoyed with Millennials? Well, Now They're Your Biggest Customer Base

Posted by Stephanie Cho on Wed, Jul 06, 2016 @ 02:32 PM

An estimated 9 million American identities are stolen each year – it’s no wonder why identity theft is the #1 complaint amongst American consumers, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Although dealing with identity theft and fraud is akin to addressing the elephant in the room – no one wants to do it – it is becoming increasingly important that businesses, particularly those in the banking industry, take the lead in providing fraud prevention solutions for their customers, lest they want to miss out on profiting from the biggest generation since the Baby Boomers: the Millennials.

Millennials, unlike previous generations, live and breathe technology. And this coupled with the fact that rampant rates of identity theft and fraud have left American consumers – no matter which generation they’re from – fearing identity theft the most whenever they’re online, means that preventing and addressing security concerns needs to be a priority when attempting to attract this upcoming technology-dependent generation as customers.

Topics: fraud prevention, fraud, millennials, mobile, mobile fraud prevention

Biggest Counterfeit Money Stories: January - May 2016

Posted by Stephanie Cho on Thu, May 19, 2016 @ 11:54 AM

Just a little over 5 months into 2016 and there are already multiple discoveries of counterfeit money operations, several of which had produced over $1 million in counterfeit money.

The following is a list of the top 5 counterfeit money stories so far this year, starting with the largest counterfeit money operation. At the end of this list, there are a bonus 3 counterfeit money stories. These stories do not involve large counterfeit money operations, rather, they are used to highlight that counterfeit money can appear anywhere, anytime, from anyone, not matter how small the amount.

It should be noted that these counterfeit money stories are those that have been disclosed – there are likely many more counterfeit money operations yet to be discovered or publically disclosed.

Topics: counterfeit money, counterfeit money news

The North Korean Supernote Problem

Posted by Stephanie Cho on Wed, May 04, 2016 @ 07:33 AM

Ever since the signing of an armistice in 1953 that put a stop to the fighting in the Korean War, North Korea and its activities has more or less been a mystery to the world. What little is known about the country is inherently grim: the county is internationally considered to be one of the worst offenders when it comes to human rights and continually tops the list of the “World’s Most Isolated Countries.”

Even lesser known than human rights atrocities is exactly how North Korea funds its economy. Although North Korea participates in legal economic activities, such as selling natural resources, analysts agree that the level of these legal activities is nowhere near enough to sustain a country the size of North Korea. Indeed, there has been evidence that North Korea has been profiting from the illegal drug trade for several decades.

Eventually, in a search to find more sources of income, North Korea figured out something that counterfeiters around the world have already figured out: manufacturing counterfeit money is much more profitable and less risky than producing and selling drugs.

And thanks to the fact that North Korea has physically segregated itself from the rest of the world, they directed their efforts to counterfeit money production - without the rest of the world catching on – and got good, really good at making counterfeit money. So much so that when North Korean counterfeit bills slipped into foreign circulation, no one was the wiser; and when the world finally did catch on, they were dubbed as “supernotes” – because they were so good that they were virtually indistinguishable from real money to all but the most sophisticated of counterfeit detection equipment.

And that is a major problem.

Topics: counterfeit money, counterfeit bills, supernotes

Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill & the Redesigns of the $5 Bill and $10 Bill

Posted by Stephanie Cho on Fri, Apr 22, 2016 @ 01:43 PM

On April 20, Jacob J. Lew, the Secretary of the Treasury, announced that a redesign of the $20 bill will feature abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the front of the bill, moving Andrew Jackson to the back of the bill. In addition, the $5 bill and the $10 bill will be redesigned. The back of the new $5 bill will feature Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and opera singer Marian Anderson. The back of the new $ 10 bill will feature the Women’s Suffrage Parade of 1913 and five women suffrage movement leaders.

Topics: harriet tubman, money, money news, US currency

Peru: The Counterfeit Money Production Capital of the World

Posted by Stephanie Cho on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 @ 03:18 PM

For decades, Colombia was known as the world leader in counterfeit money production. For the last several years, however, thanks to the collision of a variety of factors, Peru has overtaken Colombia as the counterfeit money production leader of the world. In a nutshell, Peruvian counterfeiters have access to cheaper materials and labor, are subjected to law enforcement and regulations that are, in comparison, more lax and less effective, and, by all accounts, are simply more meticulous when it comes to counterfeit money production than anyone else.

Topics: counterfeit money, fake money, counterfeit bills, peru

Why Identity Theft is More Problematic Than Ever

Posted by Stephanie Cho on Mon, Feb 29, 2016 @ 01:42 PM

If preliminary estimates hold steady, the amount of fraud victims and the total amount lost to fraud in 2015 is virtually indistinguishable to the amount of fraud victims and the total amount lost to fraud in 2014. While it’s good to know that the rate of and the amount lost to fraud has not increased, it is actually quite worrisome that fraud figures have not decreased from 2014 to 2015.

Topics: identity theft, tax fraud, fraud, emv, data breach, new account fraud

10 of the Biggest Data Breaches of 2015

Posted by Stephanie Cho on Tue, Feb 09, 2016 @ 10:25 AM

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ve probably noticed something: the rapid rise of data breaches. As the world becomes more and more interconnected and technology-dependent, more and more data is being stored online rather than the traditional method of filing away all the data on paper in file cabinets. While having an online database can exponentially streamline processes and therefore save businesses time and money, it can also open up businesses to security breaches by virtually anyone from anywhere in the world.

Before EMV became the standard in the United States, data thieves set their sights on payment card information: credit/debit card numbers along with the account owner’s name and billing address. However, thanks to the beefed-up security protocols provided by the EMV standard, thieves are finding it harder to create fraudulent payment cards that work and are now going after the data needed to create fraudulent payment cards and other financial channels, such as mortgage loans.

While it’s a bit of a relief that actual payment card numbers seem to be safer than in the past, the landscape of data theft is much more treacherous – the thieves are now targeting data that can compromise your entire identity. Now, if your any of your data gets stolen in a data breach, you can’t resolve the issue by simply canceling whichever payment card was compromised since thieves can open new payment cards in your name. Now, you have to monitor your credit report for years after the breach and spend a great deal of your time reclaiming your identity in the event it is used fraudulently in any way.

The following is a list of the ten biggest data breaches in 2015. It is worth noting that these may not actually be the biggest breaches since organizations who have suffered data breaches often do not disclose how many records were affected; the list is composed of organizations who have released the amount of records that were affected.

Topics: identity theft, fraud, hack, data breach

10 of the Biggest Counterfeit Money Stories of 2015

Posted by Stephanie Cho on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 @ 02:28 PM

According to a March 11, 2015 Secret Service estimate, 0.25% of money that is currently in circulation is counterfeit – and with $1.36 trillion in U.S. dollars circulating worldwide, that means as much as $3.4 billion could be counterfeit.

The main purpose of the Secret Service - established by Abraham Lincoln in 1865 - was not, somewhat ironically, to provide protection for the President, but to find and stop counterfeit currency from circulating around the country. At the time the Secret Service was established, an estimated 33%-50% of all U.S. currency in circulation was counterfeit. Thanks to updated security features on U.S. currency as well as strict regulations on machinery capable of producing currency, the prevalence of counterfeit money in circulation has been drastically reduced.

Although the ability to successfully counterfeit bills has been inhibited compared to a hundred years ago, there is still quite a lot of counterfeit money in circulation (as mentioned above), especially in foreign countries due to lax regulations surrounding currency production machinery and the high-margins counterfeit currency is capable of pulling in, particularly in poorer countries.

The following is a list of the 10 biggest counterfeit money stores from 2015.

Topics: counterfeit news, counterfeit money

Beware of Return Fraud - Especially during the Post-Holiday Season

Posted by Stephanie Cho on Mon, Jan 11, 2016 @ 09:53 AM

For most, the start of a new year is a time to reflect on goals and positive changes. It is when people take the time to plan out what should and needs to get done for the next 365 days – or for the next 366 days on leap years, just like this year. Unfortunately, for retailers, as desirable as it is to set aside sufficient time to forecast and plan for the next 52 weeks, they often do not have this luxury. Because in the retail world, the beginning of each year simply means that they are in the midst of the holiday returns season.

Topics: retail fraud, organized retail crime, fraud, return fraud