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Mobile Fraud creeps in?

by Avivah Litan  |  July 9, 2012  |  1 Comment

I’ve been talking with lots of financial services companies both in the U.S. and abroad over the past few months that have a strong presence in the mobile channel and are seeing very healthy use and growing adoption of their mobile applications. These apps range from mobile banking and brokerage services, to mobile shopping and mobile payments.

And here’s the punch line – none of them have seen any fraud worth reporting other than a couple of instances related to internal misuse and unauthorized activies. (Indeed the only mobile fraud I heard of that had a real impact was done by fraudsters who set up mobile x-rated services, and billed unknowing victims for accessing them using their mobile phones, which they also took over in the middle of the night. The victims were generally too embarrassed to complain about the charges).

The service providers expect this temporary respite in mobile fraud to change as they introduce higher risk transactions (e.g. lift payment or money transfer limits). Indeed, I think mobile fraud is already on its way.

A couple of days ago, I got a spam SMS message telling me I had won a $1000 Target gift card from a drawing I signed up for – along with a URL I should go to to redeem the card. My friend got the exact same SMS message. Of course we didn’t reply – and frankly it’s easier to spot fraudulent SMS messages than it is fraudulent emails since they are farther and fewer in between. Plus the PC fraudsters know better than to tell me I won $1000. They would make it more realistic – like a $10 reward which I would be happy to redeem since I keep forgetting my paper coupons that come in the mail when I go to Target.


Avivah Litan
VP Distinguished Analyst
12 years at Gartner
30 years IT industry

Avivah Litan is a Vice President and Distinguished Analyst in Gartner Research. Her area of expertise includes financial fraud, authentication, access management, identity proofing, identity theft, fraud detection and prevention applications…Read Full Bio

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