Losses to romance scams reach a record $304 million in 2020

  • The current COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent stay-at-home and social distancing directives might have played a major role in romance scams losses reaching record levels in 2020, the US Federal Trade Commission said in a report last week.
  • Total losses were estimated at a record $304 million, up about 50% from 2019, with the average loss last year being estimated at $2,500 per individual.
  • “Scammers claim to have sent money for a cooked-up reason, and then have a detailed story about why the money needs to be sent back to them or on to someone else. People think they’re helping someone they care about, but they may actually be laundering stolen funds,” the FTC said.
  • You should never send money to strangers over the internet. When consumer information is compromised by scams like this, that information can be use on other sites to carry out account takeovers and other forms of fraud. Learn how to protect accounts.

eCommerce help uplift retail in 2020 – and it could be the key to merchant success in 2021 and beyond

  • Total ecommerce sales in 2020 jumped 32.4% year over year, reaching a whopping $791.7 billion, according to the US Census Bureau. eCommerce sales accounted for 14% of total retail sales last year—marking an increase from the 11% it made up in 2019.
  • Merchants can no longer rely on in-person sales to give customers personalized experiences. Check out how you can get to know your customers through email insights to create tailored shopping experiences while protecting from fraud.

Why protecting your printer is an essential cybersecurity practice

  • Most businesses overlook printers when they are assessing cyber threats to their business — they mostly focus their attention toward computers and network devices. Printers are often considered internal devices with basic functions and are, therefore, easily ignored, but they can access confidential information and launch unauthorized print jobs, or even gain access to networks.

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A decade of friendly fraud

  • Prior to the recession of 2008 in the United States, chargebacks with a fraud reason code were relatively low and almost always reflected true credit card fraud. As a result of the economic downturn, however, large enterprises experienced a steep increase in fraud-coded chargebacks that, upon investigation, revealed that cardholders were participating in the disputed transaction.
  • Not all instances of friendly fraud are the result of malicious intent. Often, customers call their credit card companies to request more information about a purchase simply because they don’t recognize a billing descriptor or have enough information to trigger their memory of the purchase.
  • Regardless of the reason, businesses should always have safeguards in place to protect against friendly fraud and resulting chargebacks.

Fraudsters offer 400 million ‘ghost’ COVID vaccines in EU: officials

  • Fraudsters have offered 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines worth some 3 billion euros to European Union countries.
  • “There is a really large quantity,” one official said. “Nobody has any idea what is actually in these vials…The best case is it’s just not working, in the worst case it’s a very serious issue.”
  • This is just one of the many scams that have emerged as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Learn more about other popular scams that have come to light in recent months, and how AI can play a huge role in stopping them.
March 1, 2021
Weekly news digest
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