July 17, 2024

Sharp rise in travel sector fraud

The travel and hospitality sector has suffered the biggest rise in customer account takeover attacks, according to a report by fraud detection and payment acceptance specialist Ravelin.

The sector was victim to 3.3 attacks a month on average in 2021, up from 2.6 in 2020.

Ravelin’s report said pandemic travel restrictions have intensified the problem, as many customers accounts have been left dormant and unmonitored.

Fraudsters have been able to hack into loyalty scheme and frequent flyer accounts with sensitive information and transfer the points to make high value purchases.

The report says a quarter of travel and hospitality merchants don’t have a documented process for recovering account takeover victim accounts in place, which can lead to customer complaints and losses.

On the plus side, travel and hospitality fraud teams are growing to combat crime. Last year, only 30% of travel sector fraud teams had 11 or more people, but in 2021, 43% have teams this size.

At the same time, one in four respondents in the travel and hospitality industry said they expect more budget to stop fraud in 2022.

Ravelin’s report ‘Online merchant perspectives, fraud and payments survey 2022’ draws on research from more than 1,700 international ecommerce merchant fraud and payment professionals. 

Martin Sweeney, CEO at Ravelin, said: “What makes loyalty points and air miles so attractive to fraudsters is that they lack the security and safety measures that money has. All you need is access to the customer account and you can book tickets, accommodation, and host of other services without even going through a payment gateway.

“Investing in robust fraud prevention strategy and new talent, and then equipping fraud teams with state-of-the-art fraud detection and prevention tools is a must in 2022. With a purpose-built fraud detection and prevention platform, information available across multiple systems can be accessed and fraud detection software can stop suspicious transactions from as early as the booking request stage and flag or cancel them as appropriate.”