An initial test of new technology by credit card company Mastercard has revealed around 10,000 card accounts being traded illegally.
Mastercard recently partnered with digital fraud detection company NameProtect to help its partners and law enforcement agencies around the world curb identity theft.
Before the launch of Mastercard's Stop Identity Theft Program (Stop It), NameProtect did a test run of its troll for intelligence information in April and found that 40 to 50 chat rooms traded information, said Sergio Pinon, Mastercard's senior vice president of global security and risk services. In addition to these findings, data also uncovered numerous "how-to" sites on identity theft and counterfeiting sites.
The test also confirmed the meteoric rise in phishing attacks – up to some 1,125 unique attacks in April alone according to recent figures from the Anti-Phishing Working Group. The majority of these assaults are launched from Eastern Bloc countries, like the Ukraine, said Pinon. Countries hit the most by such scams include the U.S., England and Australia, and it usually takes an average of four hours or less for phishers to send their emails and await responses from victims.
The card company is using NameProtect Inc.'s detection technology to collect information about illegal activity monitored on web pages and various internet domains and in online discussions, spam, email and other online formats, It will feed data on card number-swapping rings, counterfeiting and other fraud threats to various agencies to pursue arrests and possible prosecution. Agencies include the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Service and the U.K.'s National High Tech Crime Unit, which has branches in London and throughout Europe.
The program also provides the same intelligence data to MasterCard's 25,000 member financial institutions through its MC Alerts service. For consumers, Mastercard is in the process of developing a link on its website to information about the latest schemes and the best practices to protect against them. This, like other components of the program, will be updated continuously with the most recent threat data. Mastercard is also contacting the likes of AOL, Yahoo, Google and other online companies to gauge their interest in becoming program partners.
MasterCard itself will safeguard its own identity and brand logos from being spoofed by criminals with help from NameProtect, as well. This effort, said Pinon, should help to lower the number of phishing attacks that try to make use of their logo.