1.2 Million Australians, 7% of the adult populations lost $ 1.4 billion, Australian in 2011 to forms of cyber fraud with credit cards. So mind, on credit card fraud alone. (Which makes US$ 1.45 and €1.09 billion on 21 April). That is a lot of money. Here’s a link to the article.
On average each Australian lost AUS$ 117,=. Looking at it from the individual’s point of view it’s not overly staggering as such, but if this amount is multiplied by 7% of credit card users in the US and EU, etc. I have to conclude that the estimations of the billions of € or $ of losses to cyber crime you can read about regularly, are very conservative as this is only credit card fraud. In other words: the world is being bled dry.
This can’t be true can it? In this blog post I only will post a few question which I do not necessarily have an answer to right now, but are the sort of questions that need addressing if those responsible want to have a chance at solving this problem.
1. Wouldn’t Visa, Mastercard, etc. be bankrupt by now?
2. There’s no insurance possible for these amounts of losses through crime.
3. Where do these staggering amounts go to? It’s not as if a scammer needs to buy another flashy car or house, flat screen tv or Ray Ban when money is coming in by the oil tanker load. Whole towns, counties can be bought. So where are the billions upon billions?
4. Who monitors these large amounts of money being shipped around? Nearly the whole population of a country has to get involved in money muling to send these billions out in small amounts.
5. Still databases at (affiliated) credit card companies holding, also for the credit card company itself, privacy sensitive and vital data is being hacked into every few months. So is it really that bad if a major cyber security overhaul is still not of vital importance?
6. Are the figures presented in the Australian Times accurate? Who are the sources of the Australia Board of Statistics? Who did the maths?
7. Credit card companies monitor for unusual money orders. So are the losses ABS registered including these transfers that never reach the end user?
8. Are financial institutions cooperating on a global level on prevention? It’s not as if the one is safe and the other isn’t. All get there due one day. Still the fraud money goes around the world and perhaps at the end of the day even by the financial institution it was stolen from in the first place.
9. Are incidents reported to the proper authorities?
10. Are financial institutions sufficiently open on losses through cyber fraud and crime so the proper authorities can make an assessment of urgency?
11. Have these authorities created an efficient (online) reporting centre for reporting, analysing and distribution of cyber crime reports and data?
12. Are financial institutions cooperating sufficiently with law enforcement to try and stop financial fraud and crimes?
13. Do financial institutions leverage their weight in discussions on Internet governance and transjurisdictional issues?
Some food for though on a Saturday morning for you and any other day. The answer to these questions could lead to a coherent approach and knowledge on true figures and the needed sense of urgency.
Wout de Natris, De Natris Consult
Leiderdorp, 21 April 2012