What’s on a Fraudsters’ Holiday Menu?

The holidays are coming – and that means the potential for holiday hacking, card-fraud related breaches and cyber threats against retailers and busy shoppers both online and off. What is going to happen this year that might be a bit different from past seasons — and how should merchants and shoppers prepare for anticipated breaches?

In the past year, we’ve noticed that the breach threat vector certainly has been raised in terms of cross channel fraud attacks against banks and retailers and will continue through the holiday period and beyond. It’s not only about cyber, but about all the channels that a bank or retailer might offer that will be on the cyber fraudsters’ holiday menu. Fraudsters seem to ‘celebrate’ the holidays, too. And this year, with the increasing use of mobile banking activities – new channel “opportunities” may well be on the fraudsters’ shopping lists.

So, what should be retailers’ or banks’ holiday “fraud crashing” strategy this holiday season? Here are a few ideas to prioritize for a holiday fraud-fighting campaign:


  • Banks should aim to remedy customer’s fraud complaints quickly – reputation will also suffer if customers are scared away from retail as some have learned this past year.
  • Make sure all your newest channels are well protected and have been updated in fraud protection methodologies – particularly your mobile channels.


  • Knowing this is a primetime season for fraudsters – gear up the vigilance in security and fraud systems.
  • Make sure staff is educated on the new Chip-and-Pin cards – they are showing up at retail and not all sales personnel know how to work with them correctly. The same goes for the new Apple Pay payment options if you accept them.
  • Communicate often and clearly to customers on what they can do to protect themselves from fraud and identity theft. Be known as the fraud-savvy retailer in your area whether online or off!

While I prefer a nice warm pumpkin pie and chilled whipped cream during my holidays, fraudsters are thinking about hot credit cards and cold cash. Knowing that fraud has become seemingly commonplace, it is up to all of us to stay on the alert and protect our customers and our institutions.

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