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Catch them if you can: Companies are worried about the cluster of data breaches at big retailers over the past few years, a worry that's led to myriad new technology projects to combat fraud. But innovation alone may not be enough. One of U.S. history's most famous con men, Frank Abagnale, said these technology and data management techniques aren't enough to stop many thieves. In an interview with Ars Technica, Abagnale, ironically a recent victim of a data breach, said stolen personal identity information can circumvent the standard credit monitoring that government agencies usually provide for free after an incident. Abagnale, who after posing as a doctor and an airline pilot decades ago began to work for law enforcement, told Ars Technica that information from breaches as old as ten years are still being used for theft, with health care providers being particularly vulnerable because of poor security. Credit card data theft, another focus of IT investment over the past few years, also isn't as useful to crooks as traditional personal data, since card data has to be used or dumped right away before hacked credit cards are frozen by the issuer. But personal identifiers, such as date of birth and Social Security number, can be used for years and outlast most post-breach free monitoring services.

Image: Bloomberg News
Frank Abagnale
Image: Bloomberg News

First Data at the bat: Part of First Data's strategy to expand its Clover point of sale system is to strike deals with sports facilities through a collaboration with Bypass, a company that provides software for stadium operations, and a new corporate unit that's dedicated to providing payment and retail technology to sports and entertainment facilities. The effort also includes marketing and branding. First Data has reached a deal with the New York Mets to name the team's main spring training stadium in St. Lucie, Fl. The ballpark, which seats about 7,000 people and also hosts one of the Mets' minor league teams, will now be called First Data Field. First Data also has a military veterans-oriented marketing agreement with the Mets.

Can payments analysis fight human trafficking? Verfin has expanded its financial and payments crime analysis to cover a broader range of crimes, including assessing payment trends to spot potential victims or perpetrators of human trafficking. The key is the combination of payment risk models, according to a release from the company. Over the past year, Verifin reports it has added check fraud scenarios and integrated these models with its check imaging data. That can be combined with cross-institutional sharing and tools to execute requests under the Patriot Act. This information is aggregated and presented to a bank's front line staff to capture account information and build a user profile. This profile can then be matched with payment trends that spot red flags for suspicious activity, as well as provide a possible cause of that activity. These causes go into alerts for possible money laundering or payments fraud, and potentially what kind of crime is tied to the laundering. “Financial crime is always changing,” says Brendan Brothers, Verafin co-founder, in a release. “That’s why innovation is vital and why we treat it as a cornerstone of our approach to developing the industry’s leading BSA/AML and fraud detection solution.”

Phishing season: Malware and phishing attacks on payments and financial services jumped in 2016, with Android users among the most frequent targets, reports Finextra, citing research from Kaspersky Lab, which also reports the attacks are more sophisticated than in the past. After two years of declines, incidents jumped nearly 31% to more than a million in 2016, with most of the attacks targeting users in Russia, Germany, India, Vietnam and the U.S. Zbot is the most widespread malware family, comprising 44% of the attacks, with the Gozi family of attacks coming in at 17%. Android malware attacks jumped 430% in 2016, due largely to two malware strains, Asacub and Svpeng, which attacked victims primarily in Russia.

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