Banks use card fraud software against phishers

Banks are using software originally developed to prevent credit card fraud to detect money laundering by criminal gangs...

Banks are using software originally developed to prevent credit card fraud to detect money laundering by criminal gangs responsible for a spate of e-mail phishing attacks.

The anti-fraud software is enabling banks to identify accounts used by gangs to launder money stolen from the accounts of online bank customers, the Association of Payment Clearing Services has revealed.

More than 500,000 customers a year in the UK are falling victim to phishing e-mails, which attempt to con them into disclosing account details and passwords on fake bank websites, according to research by Apacs.

The banks are fighting back by using monitoring software such as Falcon and Prism to identify suspicious cash transfers to bank accounts operated by middlemen.

"One of the main bottlenecks for the fraudsters is their ability to move funds out of the system. The banks have been putting a lot of effort in the back end to pick up the suspicious transactions," said Tom Salmond, manager of Apacs' e-banking fraud liaison group.

Banks have also begun monitoring a spate of fake job advertisements on recruitment sites, the association said.

The adverts, which have proliferated during the past month, attempt to recruit money laundering "mules" who are willing to let fraudsters pass funds through their accounts in return for a commission.

Over the past year the banks have put in new processes that allow them to respond quickly to phishing attacks and to work with ISPs to have the sites rapidly shut down, Salmond said.

Co-operation between banks, ISPs and police has improved, with banks in different parts of the world regularly sharing intelligence on phishing.

"When the scams first came out, a lot of ISPs were fearful of closing down sites. It was necessary for some of the banks to threaten to sue ISPs," he said.

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