Going global in the fight against fraud

By Debbie Grant, Senior Policy Lead • Visa Europe

And Piet Lakeman, Senior Policy Lead • Visa Europe

June 23, 2016

The first European Airline Day of Action took place in June 2013. Since then 500 arrests have been made. All linked to fraudulently purchased airline tickets. And, all thanks to the cooperation between Visa, our clients and law enforcement agencies.

Recent Days of Action have gone global. These now involve Visa clients, airlines and law enforcement all over the world not just in Europe. This year saw two consecutive days of Action on June 15 and 16. They culminated in the arrest of 140 individuals found to be in possession of tickets purchased using stolen or compromised card details. The individuals arrested were linked to other forms of crimes including human and drug trafficking, cyber-crime and terrorism.

Based on the experience gained during the airline days of action, a more proactive approach to tackling the abuse of payment cards has been developed for the sector. Our Fraud Strategy & Criminal Disruption team has driven this, given its access to stakeholders with significant business volumes passing through the airline sector.

We brought relevant stakeholders together, to share international expertise and best practice, and benefit from data drawn from the 36 markets that we focus on. Stakeholders actively share their knowledge and expertise in tackling the misuse and abuse of electronic payment cards, and believe cooperation of law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, law makers, members, individual merchants and consumers is paramount for making payments more secure.

This proactive and collaborative approach creates shared value for all concerned. Visa sees reductions in card fraud. That benefits consumers and our clients. This disruption of criminal activity also supports law enforcement agencies in their fight against not only card fraud but other forms of crime as well.

Recently we introduced the Days of Action concept to the retail sector. We brought together a selective group of retailers, our clients, Europol and the UK’s Dedicated Card Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU). The unit is a special police unit funded by UK banks to fight payment card crime. Together we ran a three day pilot week of action.

The goal was to arrest and disrupt fraudsters using compromised or stolen card details to purchase high value goods, either collected in store or delivered to addresses known to be used for such criminal activity. Both issuers and retailers provided their intelligence to the DCPCU who analysed this information. The analysis was then used to target individuals during the days of action. During the week 11 suspects were arrested and over £222,000 worth of fraudulently purchased goods were recovered or stopped from being delivered. The Retail Week of Action has proven the value of public and private sectors collaborating in the furtherance of disrupting criminal activity.

“My team played a key role in coordinating the joint efforts of Visa clients and the DCPCU,” said Visa’s Bob Palmer, Head of Fraud Strategy and Criminal Disruption. ‘We are proud to have helped with these significant arrests, the seizure of goods and loss avoidance.’

Given the success of the Retail Days of Action we plan to expand the pilot to other sectors, and to other countries. We want to encourage more issuers, more retailers and more police forces to be involved.

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