MasterCard Pulls the Plug on Hundreds of Phishers

Tuesday 24 May 2005 12:27 CET | News

MasterCard International has prompted the shut down of nearly 1,400 phishing or spoof sites globally over the past 11 months, close to a quarter of which were traced to Asia/Pacific, as part of its aggressive global campaign, named Operation Stop IT (Identity Theft).

Between 21 June 2004 and 4 May 2005, MasterCard also successfully uncovered and took offline more than 700 carding and e-commerce websites brokering illegally obtained payments card numbers. Of these, some 3% were traced to Asia/Pacific. Launched in June of 2004, the program has aggressively targeted online identity theft via 24/7 Internet monitoring to identify online credit-card trading rings, phishing scams and other forms of payment fraud targeting the MasterCard brand, its customer financial institutions and cardholders. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites that seemingly originate from well-known company brands to dupe consumers into divulging their personal information such as bank account details and credit card numbers. Fraudulent sites are reported in real time to MasterCard. The company then informs law enforcement of the sites and also contacts the relevant Internet service providers to take the sites offline, 93% of which have been taken offline within 24 to 48 hours of detection. Most of the phishing attacks on MasterCard were hosted by sites located in the following countries: US (47%); Europe/South Asia/ Middle East/Africa, which accounted for some 25%. In Asia/Pacific as of April, Korea accounted for the largest number of phishing sites, with, China, Taiwan, Japan and Australia following. Following MasterCard’s strong push to reduce online fraud, the number of sites selling credit card numbers have fallen sharply. Some ten new sites trading card numbers were detected as of 4 May 2005, compared to 139 sites in June 2004. Operation Stop IT also proved effective in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami tragedy. It helped to detect 133 potential tsunami-related phishing sites up until 7 January and prevented a number of fraudsters from cashing in on the situation. As a result of the success of Operation Stop IT, NameProtect Inc, the company with which MasterCard collaborated to launch the fraud fighting program, is now offering NameProtection, an expanded version of the program to MasterCard customer financial institutions. At an exclusive reduced rate, MasterCard customer financial institutions can access a new suite of technology and services to help prevent phishing attacks and other fraud.

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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Payments General
Countries: World
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Payments & Commerce