Security gaps could dim Australian retailers’ Christmas shopping season

Retailers want to sell better, but in the midst of surging scams and fraud they must balance analytics and security to maintain critical consumer trust.

christmas grinch
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Australians reported more phishing scams in September 2020 than in any month since the ACCC ScamWatch program began collecting data in 2017, heightening concerns that the combination of coronavirus lockdown fatigue—and a hoped-for resurgence of holiday shopping to bolster the crippled national economy—could be a disastrous combination as other analysis shows that most retailers aren’t managing payment security correctly.

Some 5,421 phishing scam attempts were formally reported by Australians during September—a 28% increase over the 4,221 attempts reported in August—and victims admitted losing $268,440 to the scams during the course of the month.

That was a 75% increase over the $153,585 lost during August—suggesting either that cybercriminals have stepped up their campaigns to take advantage of the changing economic climate, or that exhausted victims have let down their guard after months in challenging living and working conditions.

The pace of scams accelerates before the holiday shopping surge

“The opportunity COVID-19 has presented to scammers is undeniable and reflected by the rise in reports and sums lost,” said Crispin Kerr, ANZ area vice president at security provider Proofpoint ANZ, which has observed ongoing phishing campaigns that have surged throughout the course of the pandemic. “It is important that people remain vigilant and aware of the rise in phishing scams, even as the country continues to manage the impact of COVID-19 and embarks on the road to recovery for many sectors.”

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