How the Fraudster Stole Christmas

The holiday season brings about some of our greatest traditions: picking out a tree, The Santa Clause playing every night on cable, ugly sweaters, terrible white elephant gifts and fraud.


Oh yes, Christmas is like…well, Christmas for a fraudster!

Yes, the holiday season can quickly go from Buddy the Elf to Krampus if your users are unprotected.

Starting with Cyber Monday there is an explosion of eCommerce that goes right up to about Christmas Eve, and you can rest assured that fraudsters are trying to use this spike to their advantage while you and your users are trying to spend some quality time building Frosty the Snowman.

So what can you do to avoid getting coal in your stocking this December?Your friends at TeleSign don't want the annual viewing of It's a Wonderful Life to be interrupted this month, so here are a few things to consider this holiday shopping season.

Fraudulent Accounts

This is an attack where fraudsters use various methods to create new bulk accounts and/or in the name of someone they stole a credit card from. It is not difficult, in fact I would venture that the same neighborhood bullies that knock over your lawn decorations could pull off this type of crime.

How do we protect against it? Well just like leaving Santa milk and cookies, we find it a best practice to employ phone number verification, with data add-ons for extra security.

Contact Match can help you verify legitimacy of end-users based on phone number data. Is someone trying to use a credit card that's associated with an address at the North Pole? We can tell you if that really is Rudolph trying to open an account or if it's a fraudster attempting to impersonate him.

Porting History and Subscriber Status can tell you if a number has recently been hijacked for fraudulent use via phone porting or if it was just recently activated as part of a SIM farm / bulk account operation.

Account Takeover

Account takeover is similar to the creation of fraudulent accounts except in this scenario fraudsters target individual accounts and use either porting fraud or SIM swap to intercept a 2FA code and gain access.

Porting History is your best friend in this scenario because it will tell you if a number has recently been ported. Instead of allowing a fraudster to access the confidential information in customer accounts (including financial details) like the Grinch on Christmas Eve, it will send to a manual review.

Look we're not trying to be Ebenezer Scrooge here, but it's important to be safe and secure around the holidays. While we love the color red this time of year, let's just try to keep your company out of it.

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. But keeping your users safe and secure through the holidays? That works pretty well too.

Talk To An Expert

Interested in learning about how TeleSign's identity and engagement solutions can prevent fraud while fostering secure and global growth for your business? Let's chat.