How SMEs can avoid rising COVID-fuelled e-commerce fraud


With
changing restrictions and intermittent lockdowns across the country, the
uncertainty of 2020 saw more shoppers than ever before make the move online.
Unsurprisingly, many Australian SMEs have moved sales online and improved their
existing digital experiences for customers.

As we break
into a new year, now is a great time to reflect on the impacts COVID-19 is
having – for better or for worse. The ABS shows that retail turnover for
November 2020, including online sales, rose by 7.1 per cent month-on-month.
Perhaps even more interestingly, Australian retail turnover increased by a huge
13.3 per cent compared to November 2019.

Despite the
challenges, momentum is strong. There’s no doubt this is largely down to the
speed at which consumers have adapted their shopping habits. But what does a
rapidly increasing online sales mean in a world where cyber threats are a serious
issue? To put this in perspective, while a report by Australia Post reveals
that online sales alone jumped by almost 17 per cent in November 2020, online shopping
scams also edged upwards late last year with over $8 million lost to fraud
throughout the year.    

Here are
some of the steps you can take to minimise the chances of fraud in what could
be another record-breaking year.

Look for
suspicious activity  

There are a
few things you can look out for which might signal fraudulent activity. Receiving
a bulk order of items that aren’t usually bought in bulk? Could be a sign that
someone is maximising the credit on a stolen card to purchase items for resale.
Similarly, multiple credit cards used across orders could mean transactions
aren’t being made by the rightful cardholder.

Look out for what’s known as “friendly fraud”. In this case, a customer might place an order before calling or emailing to dispute the transaction and seek a refund. Keeping a record of your customers’ order history and communication is vital to preventing repeat scams like these.

Use two-factor
authentication

Ensuring
your customers are who they say they are is important to reducing the chances

of eCommerce fraud. A simple username and password is rarely a watertight
solution.

Introducing
two-factor authentication is an effective way to shore up payment security
because it layers two different methods of authenticating your customers such
as requesting a username and password before sending the customer a unique PIN
code via SMS.

Integrate
biometrics technology

Biometrics
technology in the eCommerce space is likely to become an increasingly valuable tool
for reducing fraud. Biometrics can be integrated with your two-factor
authentication process to become what’s known as ‘multi-factor’ authentication.

Biometric
markers to verify a person’s identity – such as voice recognition, facial
recognition, or fingerprints – are a step up because these unique personal
identifiers can’t be hacked or replicated by criminals.

Use a
payment gateway with accurate fraud prediction capabilities

Your
payment gateway should be one of the strongest lines of defence. The most sophisticated
payment gateways have access to consumer behaviour data to make real-time
payment authorisations while blocking transactions that bear any of the hallmarks
of fraud.

Your
provider’s technology should keep you in check with the different types of
fraud impacting eCommerce. It’s also essential to avoid false declines, where
legitimate transactions are mistaken for fraud. False declines can not only
affect your bottom line, but they could also dampen your customers’ online
experience and damage your reputation.

2021 is the
ideal time to pick up the pace with your business’ fraud protection strategy.
After all, with revenue in eCommerce expected to continue to grow, there’s no
turning back from consumers’ increasing reliance on digital sales and all the
benefits (and risks) that come with it.

Aaron Camilleri, Product Director, Live group



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‘Appalling’: Rehab centre’s reputation ‘considerably damaged’ after fraud



THE fraudulent loss of $250,000 from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation service in Tennant Creek – money which was intended for the delivery of treatment services – saw the organisation’s clients treated in an appalling way, according to the CEO.

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Two men charged over alleged $90k phone fraud



Two alleged phone fraudsters have been charged after they reportedly scammed more than $90,000 from people over two months.

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Canberra man facing driving and fraud charges allegedly strikes journalist outside court


A Canberra man accused of defrauding an elderly woman of nearly $280,000 allegedly hit a journalist in the face and threw another’s bag across the road as he left court today.

James Lawrence Michael Raftery was last month charged with dishonestly obtaining $278,459.20 from an 89-year-old Yarralumla woman over a four-month period in 2019.

After being granted bail, he left the court through an emergency exit, setting off an alarm.

Today, Mr Raftery faced the ACT Magistrates Court again, where he was further charged with three driving offences allegedly committed in July last year.

Witnesses say Mr Raftery grabbed a reporter’s camera bag and threw it across the road as he left the building, before lunging at an ABC journalist and striking another reporter in the face.

Police were called and took statements from several witnesses soon after Mr Raftery left the scene.

Mr Raftery has not yet entered pleas to the 22 fraud charges, or the additional driving offences.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

A supporter of Mr Raftery’s called reporters outside court “parasites” for covering his case and said no one knew “the real story”.

Before the alleged altercation, Mr Raftery told Magistrate Beth Campbell that he was still waiting for a legal aid lawyer to take up his case.

Magistrate Campbell replied: “It’s vital that you get representation … you need some good quality advice”.

The detail of Raftery’s alleged offending is yet to be revealed in court, and he has not yet entered pleas to the 22 fraud charges, or the additional driving offences.

Mr Raftery’s bail was continued, and he will face court next month.

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The fraud that wasn’t – A benefits scandal sinks the Dutch government | Europe


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In court: Two-day hearing expected for man accused of alleged fraud and drug offences | Goulburn Post



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A two-day hearing with multiple witnesses is expected for a Goulburn man accused of alleged fraud and drug offences. READ ALSO: Simon Walter Paull, 42, of Goulburn, was before Goulburn Local Court on January 20. Paull, and co-accused Georgina Eve Tsakos, 33, were arrested by officers from the Hume Police District at a property on Kinghorne Street, Goulburn, on November 11, 2020, in relation to an investigation into fraud and drug supply in the Southern Tablelands. Paull has been accused of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage, dealing with identity information to commit an indictable offence, four counts of taking part in the supply of a prohibited drug, concealing a serious indictable offence, possessing or using a prohibited weapon without a permit, goods in personal custody suspected being stolen, and participate in a criminal group contribute in criminal activity. Solicitor Sam Rowland, acting as agent for solicitor Kel Clowry, said his client would adhere to pleas of not guilty. Mr Rowland said the case would go to a hearing and was expected to last two days. He said the prosecution planned to call 17 witnesses forward while four witnesses were expected for the defence. Paull will re-appear at Goulburn Local Court on January 27.

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Uganda’s Museveni declared winner of presidential poll, rival alleges fraud


The army’s deputy spokesman, Deo Akiiki, told Reuters that security officers at Wine’s house were assessing threats he could face by going out: “So they might be preventing him in the interest of his own safety.”

Uganda’s long-time President Yoweri Museveni won re-election.Credit:

Soldiers and police were out in force patrolling Kampala on Saturday.

Museveni, 76 and in power for 35 years, campaigned for another term arguing his long experience in office makes him a good leader and promising to keep delivering stability and progress.

Wine, 38, galvanised young Ugandans with his calls for political change and pledged to end what he calls dictatorship and widespread corruption.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said on Friday he had video proof of voting fraud, and would share the videos as soon as internet connections were restored. The government ordered the internet shut down the day before the election, and the blackout was still in place.

Electoral Commission Chairman Simon Byabakama said on Friday that under Ugandan law, the burden of proof rested with Wine.

Bobi Wine addresses the media as security forces surround his home.

Bobi Wine addresses the media as security forces surround his home.Credit:

Reuters has not independently verified Wine’s claims.

The United States and the European Union did not deploy observer teams, but the US State Department’s top diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, said in a tweet early on Saturday that the “electoral process has been fundamentally flawed”.

He cited fraud reports, denial of accreditation to observers, violence and harassment of opposition members, and the arrest of civil society activists.

The African Union and East African Community sent observer teams to the election, but neither group of officials responded to requests for comment about possible irregularities.

Police recorded 42 election-related offences nationwide during voting and tallying so far, police spokesman Fred Enanga said on Friday night on local NBS TV. Offences included assaults, voter bribery, and theft and damage of electoral materials, he said.

The run-up to Thursday’s election was more violent than in previous polls. Security forces cracked down on opposition candidates and their supporters during the campaign, and more than 50 people died in protests in November on one of the multiple occasions when Wine was arrested.

Reuters

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‘Big lies are part of authoritarian regime changes in history’ – Prof Timothy Snyder on Trump election fraud claims – Channel 4 News


In Washington, security is being ramped up ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, amid increasing concerns about security.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump faces trial in the Senate after becoming the first US president to be impeached for a second time and leading Republicans are increasingly divided over his fate.

We were joined by Prof Timothy Snyder, a historian specialising in fascism and political atrocity at Yale University

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U.S. to relaunch small business pandemic aid program Monday with new fraud checks



FILE PHOTO: A woman runs past the Charging Bull sculpture in the Financial District as streets remain less busy due to the continuing outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Manhattan borough of New York U.S., May 5, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

January 8, 2021

By Koh Gui Qing and Michelle Price

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government is introducing new “robust safeguards” when the third round of the country’s main small business pandemic aid program launches on Monday after fraudsters and ineligible companies claimed cash last year, administration officials said on Friday.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) will kick off the third round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on Monday, opening initially to community financial institutions and to all lenders shortly thereafter, the officials said during a media briefing.

In contrast to the program’s previous two rounds during which loan applications were automatically approved upon submission, the SBA will vet the initial information, slightly slowing approvals. That process will involve running automated identity and data verification checks overnight, the officials said.

The additional $284 billion authorized for the program in a December relief bill is expected to be enough to meet incoming demand and will not run out, senior administration officials said.

The new safeguards were first reported by Reuters earlier on Friday, citing two sources familiar with the process.

The PPP, created by Congress to help small businesses hurt by coronavirus pandemic lockdowns keep staff on payrolls, enabled participating lenders to dish out $525 billion worth of loans during two rounds last year.

Government watchdogs and congressional investigators have warned that the program has attracted fraudsters, while many large and listed companies, as well as blacklisted companies, gamed the program’s rules to take cash.

The Department of Justice, working with other agencies, has charged more than 80 individuals with stealing more than $250 million from the program.

Congress also made several changes to the program when it reauthorized it, including allowing small companies which suffered a 25% or greater decline in 2020 revenues to apply for a second loan of up to $2 million. It also tightens language promising lenders will not be held responsible if borrowers break the rules, pledging no enforcement action may be taken against the lender if it acted in good faith and complied with relevant federal and state regulations. That tighter language had been lobbied for by lenders, who worried they would be swept up in a broader federal probe into PPP fraud, putting more onus on the SBA to vet applications.

Dan O’Malley, CEO of Numerated, a fintech company that provides software for roughly 125 banks to process PPP loans, said the program changes were positive but had caused it to become “really complicated” and warned that could create new technical hitches.

(Reporting by Michelle Price, Koh Gui Qing and Pete Schroeder; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Jonathan Oatis and Andrea Ricci)



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Boeing to pay $2.5 billion to settle 737 Max fraud charge


Boeing Co. agreed to pay $2.5 billion to settle criminal charges that it defrauded the U.S. government by concealing information about the ill-fated 737 Max that was involved in two fatal crashes.

The U.S. planemaker entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in the Northern District of Texas on Thursday, the Justice Department said in a press release.

“The tragic crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 exposed fraudulent and deceptive conduct by employees of one of the world’s leading commercial airplane manufacturers,” Acting Assistant Attorney General David P. Burns of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a statement.

Boeing shares fell less than 1% to $211.26 after the close of regular trading in New York.

A design flaw in the Max helped lead to the two crashes within about five months in 2018 and 2019, killing 346 people. Several investigative reports have found that the company altered a flight control system, but didn’t fully explain the changes to Federal Aviation Administration inspectors.

“I firmly believe that entering into this resolution is the right thing for us to do — a step that appropriately acknowledges how we fell short of our values and expectations,” Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun said in a message to employees. “This resolution is a serious reminder to all of us of how critical our obligation of transparency to regulators is, and the consequences that our company can face if any one of us falls short of those expectations.”

The action is the latest to hit the planemaker’s bottom line. The company’s inability to deliver planes during the ground and cancellations of previous orders have cost the company billions of dollars.

Of the $2.5 billion, Boeing has already set aside $1.77 billion to reimburse airlines and other Max customers. The company said it expected to incur an additional $743.6 million charge for the fourth quarter of 2020, as it pays a $243.6 million penalty and $500 million in additional compensation for the families of the crash victims. Boeing is scheduled to report earnings for the quarter on Jan. 27.

The plane, Boeing’s best-selling model, was grounded for 20 months while the FAA and regulators in other nations oversaw design changes to address problems revealed in investigations. The FAA lifted its grounding on Nov. 18, provided airlines completed a list of repairs and revamped pilot training.

A criminal investigation into how the plane was designed and approved began after the Oct. 29, 2018, crash off the coast of Indonesia of a Lion Air flight, but before the second accident near Addis Ababa.

“The misleading statements, half-truths, and omissions communicated by Boeing employees to the FAA impeded the government’s ability to ensure the safety of the flying public,” U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas said in a press release. “This case sends a clear message: The Department of Justice will hold manufacturers like Boeing accountable for defrauding regulators – especially in industries where the stakes are this high.”

More must-read stories from Fortune:

  • Democrats plan to use Senate win to pass $2,000 stimulus checks
  • Betting odds heavily favored Georgia’s GOP candidates, then suddenly collapsed. What went wrong?
  • COVID vaccine recipients may still be infectious. When will we know for sure?
  • The biggest conspiracy theories of 2020 (and why they won’t die)
  • A brief history of Bitcoin bubbles

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