Archive for April 2012

Phishing And Malware Meet Cheque Fraud

Posted on 24 April 2012.

Trusteer recently uncovered a scam in an underground forum that shows how data obtained through phishing and malware attacks can be used to make one of the oldest forms of fraud – cheque forging – even harder to prevent.The scam involves a criminal selling pre-printed cheques linked to corporate bank accounts in the USA, UK and China.The criminal is selling falsified bank cheques made with specialized printing equipment, ink and paper. For $5 each, he/she will supply cheques that use stolen credentials (e.g. bank account) provided by the buyer.However, to purchase cheques that use stolen credentials supplied by the counterfeiter the cost is $50 – a tenfold increase. This is a clear indicator that stolen credentials are a key enabler of cheque fraud.

Cheque data fields include personal information (e.g. name, address and phone) and financial information (e.g. bank account, routing code and cheque number). To obtain all the required data fraudsters typically need to get their hands on a physical or scanned version of a real cheque in circulation.

Many banking web sites provide access to scanned versions of paid and received cheques. Online banking login credentials obtained through malware and phishing attacks can easily be used by fraudsters to access a victim’s account and collect all the required information to commit cheque fraud. In addition, before using the cheques, fraudsters could potentially ensure account balance is sufficient to approve the transaction.

The criminal recommends using the cheques to buy products in retail stores rather than trying to redeem them for cash. Buyers are also encouraged to carry fake identification cards that match the stolen credentials on the cheque. The cheque counterfeiter offers to provide these as well.

“This is the latest example of the how criminals can use malware and phishing techniques to make traditional physical fraud schemes more effective,” said Trusteer’s CTO Amit Klein.

“This “cross-channel” approach is helping fraudsters stay one step ahead of even the most sophisticated fraud detection systems deployed online and in the brick and mortar world. It is also creating a new generation of Frank Abagnale’s that are not even required to come up with their own fraud scams.”

Housekeeper Admits Fraudulently Writing Cheques From Elderly Mold Woman

Apr 26 2012 by Lois York, Flintshire Chronicle

AN ELDERLY lady’s trusted housekeeper and companion had admitted fraudulently making out cheques to herself from the woman’s bank account.

Leanne Mitchell, 34, formerly of Parc Hendy, Mold initially claimed the victim had written the cheques out to her.

Flintshire magistrates’ court at Mold was told that in an interview with the police, she claimed the 79-year-old lady had complained she did not have enough cash to live on, had made out cheques to her, and she handed the money back.

But a hand-writing expert confirmed the cheques had not been written out by the victim, who also comes from Mold.

On Friday, the day of her trial, Mitchell, now of Erw Groes, Holywell, changed her not guilty pleas.

She had denied five fraud charges – falsely representing that she had the authority of the account holder to present cheques.

But she admitted three fraud charges and asked for two others to be taken into consideration.

Sentence was adjourned.

Prosecutor Alun Humphreys said the offences occurred between November 2008 and May last year.

In June last year the victim’s son, who had authority to deal with his mother’s finances, saw a bank statement which included a withdrawal of £105.

Investigations with the bank showed just under £700 had been withdrawn from the account.

Challenged about it, the defendant first claimed that it was a Sky warranty payment.

French Banks Called Upon To Halve Cheque Processing Volumes

26 April, 2012 – 10:51
The French banking industry has been called upon to make a bigger investment in electronic payment methods, under proposals to halve the number of cheques processed in the next five years.
The proposals, contained in a Comité Consultatif du Secteur Financier (CCSF, part of the Banque de France) report into methods of payment, suggests twenty ways that banks in France could unburden themselves of the high costs of processing paper cheques, which account for 18% of non-cash payments in the country. This compares to an EU average of under seven per cent.The CCSF says the 3.1 billion cheques used each year by consumers cost retailers and banks a collective €2.4bn to handle and process.The CCSF argues that the heavy costs of cash and cheque processing has dissuaded banks from investing in electronic payment systems, creating opportunities for non-bank competitors like PayPal to steal market share. The report urges the banking industry to work together on developing alternative Web-based and mobile payment channels.