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« March 7, 2004 - March 13, 2004 | Main | March 21, 2004 - March 27, 2004 »

March 20, 2004

AOL Blocks Spammers' Web Sites

Jonathan Krim reports in the Washington Post on AOL's new approach to dealing with spammers by making their web sites inaccessible to AOL members logged onto the AOL network.
AOL members attempting to visit a blocked Web page receive an error message that says a connection to the page could not be made, but are not told that it is a spammer's site that has been placed off limits. No other notification of the policy is provided.

Credit Card Security Breach

Dan Thanh Dang reports in the Baltimore Sun about a possible security breach involving credit card information at BJ's Wholesale Club. Earlier, BJ's had posted an announcement about the issue on its web site.

What to Do if You Lose Your ID

Susan Stelling writes in the New York Times Travel section about what to do if you lose your wallet while traveling.

March 19, 2004

eBay Attracts Vigilantes Who Try to Fight Fraud

Katie Hafner reports in the New York Times on how some eBay members are taking things into their own hands in an effort to fight fraud. The article reports that eBay has a staff of 800 people fighting fraud on its sites around the world.

In a sidebar article, Hafner provides some tips on how to avoid auction scams. Because much of the fraud is perpetrated on eBay using Western Union as the payment mechanism, bidders are cautioned about listings requiring payment by Western Union.

Email Fraud and Phishing Attacks Increase 60% in February

The Anti-Phishing Working Group reports that email fraud and phishing attacks grew by more than 60% in February as compared to January, with an average of 9.7 new, unique attacks sent out to millions of consumers each day. The APWG's latest monthly report is available for download."

Wells Fargo Phishing Attack

Shaheen Pasha of Dow Jones Newswires reports on a recent phishing attack against customers of Wells Fargo Bank.
This is the second phishing expedition to have hit Wells Fargo in a week. A warning on the company's Web site informed customers that a fraudulent e-mail was sent last week asking customers to verify their ownership of an account by clicking on a provided link and provide personal information.

March 18, 2004


Seth Lubove reports in Forbes on the activities of Stephane Touboul and his company ChargeMeLater.

The company...

"allows consumers to buy online and pay for it simply by entering the sum of the last four digits of their social security number. Touboul uses a proprietary algorithm that corroborates the identity of users based on a search of multiple databases and their phone numbers, validates their ages and addresses, makes sure they're good for the money, and then sends a bill to the user's house."
There's a whole lot more to the story as Lubove reports it.

Card Fraud in Belgium

Expatica reports on a large scale credit card fraud ring recently uncovered in Belgium. READ MORE »

Labak Named President of MasterCard Europe

Finextra is reporting that Alexander Lubak, 41, chief marketing officer of Deutsche Bank, has been named president of MasterCard Europe.

Fighting Identity Theft

CSO Magazine reports uses the personal experience of the director of corporate security programs at Cisco to outline what companies should be doing to help protect their employees from identity theft -- including "phighting phishing".

Nokia, Philips and Sony to Focus on Near Field Communication

Nokia, Philips and Sony announced today at CeBIT that they are jointly establishing the Near Field Communication (NFC) Forum to enable the use of touch-based interactions in consumer electronics, mobile devices, PCs, smart objects and for payment purposes. An NFC white paper is available for downloading (PDF) from ECMA. READ MORE »

JupiterResearch Forecasts Growth in E-Mail Marketing Spend

JupiterResearch is forecasting that spending on e-mail marketing in the US will triple over the next five years.

Plaxo Fixes Phishing Vulnerability

Munir Kotadia reports in ZDNet UK on a security problem in Plaxo's web site that could have left its members' contact lists vulnerable to a phishing attack. Jeremy Wagstaff comments.

What's perhaps more troubling are the comments of security test engineer Jeremy Wood of Lodoga who discovered the Plaxo vulnerability:

"Plaxo is not alone. We have been running workshops this month and every client we deal with has the same problem. Developers haven't really realised how robust they have to be in terms of security coding. This is probably the number one problem, and companies really are jeopardising their trade name and potentially their customers' data," added Wood.

March 17, 2004

Non-Card Payments on the Internet

Jennifer Kingson writes in tomorrow's American Banker on efforts by Internet retailers to encourage consumers to use alternatives to credit and debit cards.

Push for Plastic

ABC News has a feature by Ari Weinberg on consumers' preference for card payments over cash.

Westpac Reports Decline in Calls re: Phishing Attacks

Kristyn Maslog-Levis reports on comments from Westpac that customers have become more aware of phishing attacks through increased awareness efforts by the bank.

Irish ATM Cardholders Warned

The Irish Payments Services Organization has urged card holders to use care when using ATM machines following discovery of new attacks on ATM's by fraudsters. READ MORE »

AOL Launches Identity Theft Alerts

AOL has announced a new identity theft alerting service offered in conjunction with its new online bill payment service. The service allows consumers to program various triggers for bank and credit card accounts that generate email alerts to the consumer.

Equifax Canada Reports Security Breach

Mark Hume reports in the Globe and Mail on a recently discovered security breach at Equifax Canada that revealed personal information on some 1,400 individuals.

Visa USA's Resolve Online

Lucas Mearian reports in Computerworld on Visa USA's Resolve Online system for improving the handling of cardholder disputes.

Card Skimming in Australia

Fergus Shiel reports in The Age on plans to clamp down on bank card skimming fraud in Australia.

Credit Card Mailings Slow

A. Raghunathan reports on a slow down in direct mail solicitations by credit card issuers.


MediaPost's Kate Kaye provides an overview of phishing based upon McAfee's recent white paper on the subject.

More on PayPal

Carrie Kirby reports in the San Francisco Chronicle on the warning PayPal provided its customers late last week to be on the lookout for possible "spear phishing" attacks. READ MORE »

March 16, 2004

MBNA SEC Filings

MBNA yesterday filed its proxy statement and annual 10-K report with the SEC. The company was the subject of a recent article in the New York Times regarding its compensation practices under former CEO Charles Cawley. According to the proxy statement, Cawley remains a special advisor to MBNA.

PayPal Warns Customers to Safeguard Personal Data

Mike Musgrove reports in the Washington Post on PayPal's warning to its customers to safeguard personal information.
Bruce Schneier, a computer security expert, characterized the scam as "really bad news." "The more data an attacker gets, the more effective they'll be," he said. "This attack bypasses security and attacks the user directly. It's like me convincing you to give me your ATM card and your PIN."

March 15, 2004


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