On March 20, VISA released the Spring 2024 Edition of its Biannual Threats. The report outlines the top threats impacting businesses and consumers in the payment world.

According to the report, threats are becoming more organized and sophisticated and target the most vulnerable point in the payments’ ecosystem: humans.

“With the use of Generative AI and other emerging technologies, scams are more convincing than ever, leading to unprecedented losses for consumers,” said Paul Fabara, Chief Risk and Client Services Officer, Visa. “Visa is uniquely positioned to address these threats, with investments in tech and innovation reaching over $10 billion over the past five years. These investments, in addition to our ongoing education and top talent, allow us to stay ahead of scams and protect consumers.”

Individuals Are The Primary Target

Scammers are increasingly targeting consumes, taking advantage of their emotions to create fraud opportunities. I personally know several people who have fallen victim to common scams. According to another recent VISA survey, more than one-third of adults do not report scams committed against them. It’s embarrassing to say the least.

Top Highlighted Scams

  • Romance/Relationship: Scammers capitalize on holidays through social media and dating sites. Victims are lured into online relationships and convinced to invest in fake cryptocurrency scams. Artificial Intelligence is being used to create more convincing campaigns.
  • Inheritance Scams: This is an old one that still seems to be working. Victims are notified about an inheritance from a distant relative. Personal information and an initial payment is required to receive the funds. 15% of adults surveyed have been target by this scam.
  • Humanitarian relief scams: Capitalizing on tragic current events, these scams exploit calls for donations across social media to defraud unsuspecting donors.
  • Triangulation fraud: Scammers create illegitimate online storefronts offering high demand products at a low cost to collect payment information. Legitimate merchants fulfill the online order, but payment information is already compromised. Triangulation scams cost merchants up to $1 billion in a single month.

What is Visa Doing?

“Visa has a dedicated team that works around the clock globally to monitor and disrupt the tactics bad actors use to commit fraud,” said Fabara. “With our average time between identifying and shutting down an attack measured in minutes versus hours or days, we are doing all we can to help keep consumers safe. We hope building awareness of these emerging scams will help consumers fight fraud as another line of defense in the battle against fraudsters.”

Fraudsters Are Becoming More Organized

Cyber criminals are continually probing organizations and networks for complex weaknesses, using new technologies to exploit vulnerabilities with far-reaching impacts.

  • Supply chains and third-party services are being targeted with campaigns designed to capitalize on a single breach.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) use is increasing by fraudsters, allowing them to identify vulnerabilities within fraud controls implemented by banks.
  • Purchase Return Authorization (PRA) fraud attacks increased 83 percent over the previous five-month period, with each successful attack leading to approximately $115,000 in potential fraud losses to banks.
  • Ransomware cases increased 300 percent from June to December 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Visa predicts that ransomware will continue to target critical infrastructure, including financial organizations.

Is Your Business Safe?

Many small business owners think that because their business is small, they will not be targeted. Unfortunately, this is not true. Any business can be a target and should have a security plan in place. If you would like to discuss your payment processing security with us, we would be glad to help you. Call or message us today.