Industry Leaders Form Group to Combat Online Fraud

A “superhero slate” of cross-industry leaders in retail, telecommunications, financial services, banking and technology have joined forces to eliminate the threat of phishing to e-mail and e-commerce. The Trusted Electronic Communication Forum (TECF) said in a statement that the group formed as a “collaborative endeavor with the mission to help mitigate the risks posed by phishing, spoofing and other tactics of online identity fraud.” The group will also focus on finding an immediate cross-geographic and industry-wide standard to protect consumers and businesses.

The TECF's founding member companies include ABN AMRO; AT&T Wireless; Best Buy; Charles Schwab; CipherTrust; DIRECTV; E*Trade; Fidelity Investments; GE Access; HSBC; IBM; National City Bank; PostX Corporation; Royal Bank of Scotland; and Siebel Systems.

Shawn Eldridge, Chairman of The TECF stated, "Identity theft is a multi-billion dollar per year problem, and phishing and spoofing seriously erodes consumers' trust in the Internet and enterprise brands. The TECF's goal is to serve all industries and countries as the resource for providing standards with technology, best practices and research. Ultimately, the TECF would like to be able to lead the push to assess, back and deploy an industry-wide standard solution."

According to the Gartner Group, a market research firm, 57 million U.S. Internet users have received fraudulent e-mail linked to phishing scams, and about 1.7 million of them may have been tricked into divulging personal information. In addition, 76% of the known or suspected attacks have occurred since October 2003, demonstrating the widening scope of the problem.

The TECF will research and promote new technologies and solutions for eliminating phishing and spoofing, as well as contribute to the public dialogue with its members and through periodic research reports about phishing and spoofing.

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MasterCard International is assembling a host of industry, law enforcement, and academic heavyweights at a conference to discuss new techniques to combat identity theft, phishing, skimming and other forms of payment fraud.

The MasterCard Global Risk Management Symposium will take place in San Diego from June 22 to June 24 and will address those issues head-on in feature addresses from leading experts.

Those expected to speak include the Honorable Lee R. Heath of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Honorable Wayne Abernathy of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, John Large of the U.S. Secret Service, and Dr. Gary Gordon, head of the Economic Crime Institute at Utica College as well as MasterCard executives and other industry professionals. They will explore the depths of industry fraud knowledge and experience, through a series of presentations, discussions, workshops and training.

"With existing and emerging fraud schemes breaking every day, navigating the tide of change requires extensive understanding of the tools and strategies necessary to combat payment systems fraud," said Sergio Pinon, senior vice president of MasterCard Security & Risk Services.

More than 300 elite professionals from law enforcement, financial services, and other related industries are expected to attend and learn about issues such as identity theft, e-commerce fraud, and ATM fraud, as well as terrorism and other threats to financial institutions. In addition, participants will discuss new advances in chip technology and new card products.

The symposium comes at a time when identity theft and other forms of credit card fraud are on the rise. The Federal Trade Commission has reported that identity theft has been the No. 1 consumer complaint for four consecutive years.

"Phishing" attacks, which use fraudulent e-mails and Web sites to lure consumers into divulging personal financial information, also have increased significantly. According to the most recent data from the Anti-Phishing Working Group, there were 1,125 unique attacks in April - a 180 percent increase over March.

During the symposium, MasterCard will make a groundbreaking announcement on a new partnership that represents a fundamental shift in how the industry tackles emerging forms of payment fraud.

"We are now at the point where fraud prevention and fraud containment are no longer enough," said Pinon. "Our new partnership enables us to aggressively shut down online fraud schemes before card accounts are compromised and identities are stolen."

Hosting these symposia is part of MasterCard's ongoing efforts to implement advanced fraud prevention and detection techniques and tools, as well as to create an environment for top experts to share best practices.

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