Account Takeover and the Holidays

Why account takeovers threaten the most wonderful time of the year

It's the happiest time of the year. In the U.S., Black Friday, Cyber Monday and a litany of other seasonal promotions will drive people to stores, malls and all sorts of e-commerce platforms. Retailers will do 20-30% of their annual sales, many of them ramping up their omnichannel messaging to drive revenue. However, retailers aren't the only folks viewing the holiday shopping rush as an opportunity. Many fraudsters view the uptick in activity favorable as well and the end goal is always the same: Account takeover.Account takeover happens when someone gains unauthorized access to your account. It may have happened to you already. As of 2018, nearly one in ten consumers reported having their identity stolen while taking part in holiday shopping. Of those that experienced identity theft, roughly half occurred as a direct result of online shopping. As Card Not Present (CNP) transactions have risen, so too has the amount of people looking for ways to exploit it.A report that came out this week shows that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the top two days for fraud, with over a billion dollars exchanging hands illegitimately. (Talk about receiving coal in your stocking!) With so much money at play there must be ways for platforms to protect their users and consumers to protect themselves. Here are a few best practices that TeleSign recommends.

How to avoid account takeover fraud this holiday season

One of the fastest and easiest ways to thwart account takeover fraud is to turn on two-factor authentication or 2fa. Two-factor authentication involves the sending of a one-time passcode to your device (typically via an SMS or voice message) as an extra layer of security. This way, even if a fraudster is able to pull your password from a phishing attack or some sort of data breach, they still won't be able to access your account.Another tactic for consumers to be wary of this season is phishing attacks. Fraudsters know that you are likely to be spending a fair amount of time browsing online platforms looking for the perfect gift. You may receive an email that your account has been compromised and you need to change a password. If it feels suspicious, it probably is. Never give your credentials over e-mail., if something feels suspicious, call customer support to confirm that the contact was legitimate.Last year two out of every 100 transactions were fraudulent. These odds may seem long to you, but when a fraudster hits the jackpot everybody loses. Well, everybody except the fraudster who laughs his way to the bank. However, by taking some very small precautions you can keep yourself safe this season and enjoy all the milk and cookies your heart desires.TeleSign connects and protects online experiences. We are the pioneer in phone-based verification and we represent 21 of the largest 25 web properties in the world. To learn more about two-factor authentication, why it's important and how to turn it on visit us here."

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