Nowadays, our daily life is connected to the digital environment as much as never before. Pandemic outbreak more than two years ago boosted penetration of digital payments and e-commerce growth. Many people tried digital or contactless payments for the first time. Businesses also had to react and move to online platforms, adapting their products and services to new realities. In general, the demand for digitization has dramatically increased since then. And many people by now have even gained new digital habits. Businesses and consumers may also agree that the speed of online influence triggered the most wanted challenge – frauds and social engineering scams.
Opportunistic fraudsters are still hunting for credentials and private information, though usage of mobile banking apps and biometrics now highly protects consumers. So scammers still address old tactics and use social engineering to get what they want. It may include fake calling a consumer and persuading them to donate to fraudulent charities, hacking email accounts, or using phishing sites. Also, many sell what doesn’t even exist: goods on internet marketplaces or forums, or renting non-existing apartments out. What they are always trying to reach is to make consumers share private information that relates to their bank accounts and cards. Looking at the list of hackers’ activities reminds us of the importance of the security measures, especially awareness on payment safety.
Therefore, educating the public on safe payment methods and data protection is more important than ever. It is also at the core of Visa’s vision to offer resources for raising awareness on payment security and providing up-to-date solutions for surging risks of fraud. Global Payment Security Campaign, which currently progresses in Armenia, serves exactly this purpose. It seeks to educate and raise financial awareness of consumers in identifying social engineering scams and frauds and learning various techniques to secure themselves from becoming the subject of such wrongdoings.
Despite the relatively low risk level of fraud in Armenia, and that’s something we should be proud of, in late September 2022, the country’s Office of Prosecutor General revealed the soaring bank card fraud, with 145 cases of fraud being recorded in Armenia in the first half of the year. Based on the state body, criminals used different types of fraud to get the personal data of sellers or advertisers and steal money from their accounts. In light of this, it was a very timely decision of Visa to launch the Payment Security Campaign in Armenia in partnership with the Central Bank of Armenia.
Within the campaign, Visa created an online interactive game (looking like a chat-bot) and introduced “Armen”, a virtual financial assistant, for Armenian consumers to get better acquainted with how contemporary fraud schemes work and equip them with relevant knowledge. Security Campaign also involved a series of vlogs of business and finance professionals sharing their insights on various crucial issues such as data protection, financial literacy and security, cashless transactions and online payment technologies.
Besides local engagement and efforts in combating social engineering scams, Visa actively continues working on this matter on a global scale, coming up with a number of strategies and creating technologies to prevent fraud, and provide banks and merchants with best expertise and support. Among many are Visa Token Service, which is security technology that replaces sensitive account information, such as the 16-digit primary account number, with a unique digital identifier called a token. The token allows payments to be processed without exposing actual account details, Visa Secure and Buy Online Pickup In Store (BOPIS). All of them were created by the team of Visa to enable businesses to thrive by providing them with security strategies and creating a consumer-friendly environment for people looking for safe and secure online or offline shopping options.
In this regard, it is important to know that in the last 12 months, with the use of AI, Visa blocked over $4.2 billion in fraudulent payments volume, continuing to protect its consumers from potential counterfeit attacks on a daily basis via investing a generous amount of human and material resources in it.
One of the core missions of Visa is to connect key stakeholders by providing them with innovative and safe payment solutions. Thus, Visa partners with financial institutions including central banks to support the development of online payment infrastructure and a cashless economy. It is noteworthy that Visa supports and welcomes various new payment methods based on digital wallets to which consumers can add their cards, and then may make secure payments with smartphones and other gadgets. Two of the most popular global digital wallets and payment methods have been launched in Armenia this year. Overall, the advancement of small and medium-sized businesses and e- commerce across the world remains among the fundamental values of Visa. That’s why it perseveringly contributes to democratizing and securing payments.
And every cardholder should remember and follow simple rules to minimize any risks of becoming scammers victims:Always keep your banking card in a secure space and don’t leave it without control (especially in public spaces). And just try using “digital wallets” in your smartphone by adding your digital card. Making contactless payments with gadgets protected biometrics is a very secure way. Remember well the PIN-code of your card and never tell it to anyone else. Remember, client support services of banks never ask for this code. If someone is asking while calling you (even though they represent themselves as “your bank”, be sure – you are dealing with fraudsters. So just terminate the conversation. Turn on SMS-notification for your card, so you are always informed when any transaction happens. Set up limits for maximum spend on your card: in offline points of sale, and for e-com transactions. Don’t photograph your card, especially a back side with CVV code. And never send your card details to any sellers from the internet, who are promising that they will send you the goods right after. Check that URL of the web-site begins with https:// and buy online only on official web-sites of merchants and brands.