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Over the last few months, I’ve covered the gradual slowdown in travel after the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. Many states and countries issued lockdown orders. Travel ground to a halt. While people were quite expectedly focusing on other things, one disturbing trend broke out over the last few weeks. Even though travel slowed down, instances of credit card fraud were on the rise.

Travel Credit Card Fraud

Fraudsters are clearly taking advantage of the current situation. This report by Travel Weekly shows that even though travel came to a drastic halt, fraud related cases went on at the same pace.

Forter’s analysis of fraud during the Covid-19 crisis aligns with the landscape ARC has observed. In mid-March, data reviewed by the ARC fraud team identified a 65% increase in high-risk airport data, such as debit memos submitted with a fraud code, according to director of revenue integrity Cornelius Hattingh. In addition, transactions emanating from West Africa, a traditional hotbed for fraud, are on the rise.

Loyalty fraud, which has been growing fast in recent years, also appears to have kept apace even as global travel has crashed, Shkedi said.

A lot of the data here is primarily from publicly available sources. According to the same report, there’s a high likelihood that a lot more customer data may have been compromised and published on the dark web. The data includes credit card related information as well as loyalty program account details.

Forbes also published a similar report indicating the jump in fraud and fraud related complaints.

There has been a big jump in attempted fraud with debit and credit cards since coronavirus shut down the U.S. economy earlier this year, according to Fidelity National Information Services FIS. The dollar volume of attempted fraudulent transactions rose 35% in April from a year earlier.

Credit card and loyalty program fraud is a lot more common that you’d think. In fact, we’ve already seen other fellow bloggers in the BoardingArea network fall victim to credit card or loyalty program fraud.

Frequent Miler: My Hilton account was hacked twice

Miles to Memories: Someone Applied For a Credit Card In My Name & What To Do If It Happens to You

The Pundit’s Mantra

Last year, I also became a victim of credit card fraud. Thankfully, I was immediately alerted about the transaction due to Apple Pay and Amex did a great job while handling the situation.

Many people in the miles and points game carry more than one credit card. In such a case, it’s always prudent to closely monitor your credit card statements. Also, I use a service like AwardWallet in order to keep track of my loyalty program accounts. As it transpired in my case, simply setting up the right notifications can go a long way in alerting you about possible fraudulent activity.

Have you been a victim of credit card fraud? Has your loyalty program account ever been hacked? How did the bank or loyalty program handle the situation? Tell us in the comments section.


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