Frequent flyer miles and travel reward points have become like currency for hackers, stealing points to use for themselves or to sell for cash. Reward currency is worth billions and its high value is attracting fraudsters away from traditional targets like banks and ecommerce firms.
How does airline fraud happen?
Loyalty rewards fraud is committed primarily by hackers, but even company employees and customers are finding ways to game the system. These culprits compromise loyalty accounts in order to take trips themselves, resell the tickets to turn a profit or exchange them for other goods and cash.
According to an article in USA Today, thieves acquired stolen passwords and used them to try to access the accounts of frequent fliers at two major airlines.
The cost of loyalty fraud
There are steep costs associated with loyalty fraud. First is the financial cost of reimbursing points to customers whose points have been stolen (and spent) by hackers. Fraud can also tarnish a company’s reputation, causing a loss of customer trust and brand loyalty. As more companies, and customers, fall victim to rewards fraud, it’s clear that fraud prevention is a serious issue.
What can you do to prevent loyalty fraud?
Many companies have heightened internal security by requiring captcha codes and more complex passwords, but we believe a stronger defense against fraud is necessary. That’s why we’re working with top fraud protection experts to develop a loyalty fraud protection product. Our fraud protection product will identify loyalty fraud trends across our clients’ programs and industries using more than 600 standard rules. We’ll also engage in periodic rule tuning to keep up with the latest loyalty fraud trends. Our new fraud protection technology can be a client’s primary fraud solution or simply an additional checkpoint in the process.