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East reports on Apple Pay fraud in Europe

The European Association for Secure Transactions (EAST) has just published its second European Fraud Update for 2019. This is based on country crime updates given by representatives of 16 countries in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), and 4 non-SEPA countries, at the 48 th EAST meeting held at Europol in The Hague on 5 th June 2019


Payment fraud issues were reported by eighteen countries. Two countries reported mobile wallet fraud in relation to Apple Pay. One reported that mobile wallets are fast becoming the new money mules – fraudsters are enrolling cards that are not yet associated to a specific wallet.

Another country reported that fraudsters are obtaining security codes through phishing, with which they can then install a mobile banking app on their own smartphone,
using the victim’s data. One country reported that fraudsters are increasingly using mobile call centres to call customers from numbers that appear to be genuine, and then are pretending to be bank security staff.

This enables them to obtain key personal information and data. Five countries reported fake websites, mainly in China and other Asian countries – customers place orders for goods, which are never fulfilled, or for services which are
never provided. One country reported that the quality of fake websites and fake emails is constantly improving, with fewer language errors and better design and formatting. To date in 2019 the EAST Payments Task Force
(EPTF) has issued four related Payment Alerts.

ATM malware and logical attacks were reported by six countries. They all reported the usage (or attempted usage) of ‘black-box’ devices to allow the unauthorised dispensing of cash. In most cases the attacks were
unsuccessful. To date in 2019 the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF) has published five related Fraud Alerts.

Card skimming at ATMs was reported by eighteen countries. Five countries reported the continued usage of M3 – Card Reader Internal Skimming devices. The most recent variants are made of transparent plastic.

Skimming attacks on other terminal types were reported by six countries, three of which reported such attacks on railway ticket machines. To date in 2019 EAST EGAF has published eight related Fraud Alerts.
Year to date International skimming related losses were reported in 37 countries and territories outside SEPA and in 4 within SEPA. The top three locations where such losses were reported remain Indonesia, India and the USA.

Eight countries reported cash trapping attacks, two of them reporting decreases in such attacks. Five countries reported card trapping attacks, two of them reporting that such attacks are increasing.

Ram raids and ATM burglary were reported by ten countries and nine countries reported explosive gas attacks, four of which reported that such attacks are increasing. Seven countries reported solid explosive attacks, two of
which are seeing increases in such attacks, and one reported an attack carried out by criminals armed with assault rifles. The spread of such attacks is of great concern to the industry due to the risk to life and to the significant amount of collateral damage to equipment and buildings. To date in 2019 the EAST Expert Group on ATM & ATS Physical Attacks (EGAP) has published seven related Physical Attack Alerts.

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