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Jargon Buster

Advance Fee Fraud – Advance Fee Fraud refers to various scams where the fraudster, acting as a seller, targets potential victims to get them to make an advance or upfront payment for goods, services or a financial gain that does not in reality exist.  The approach to the victim can be made through email, social media, newspaper adverts, flyers or notices posted in public places.

Card Acquirer – A bank or financial institution that processes credit or debit card payments on behalf of a merchant or retailer, sometimes called a Card Processor.

Card Issuer – A bank or financial institution that offers credit or debit cards to consumers and/or business customers.

Card Not Present transaction (CNP) – A payment card transaction which is carried out remotely i.e. when the cardholder or card is not physically present in front of the merchant at the time that an order is given and payment processed.  Card Not Present (CNP) transactions typically occur by mail-order, telephone or online

Card Trapping – A thief physically manipulates an ATM so that it does not return the ATM user’s card.  When the cardholder leaves the ATM, the thief returns to the ATM and retrieves the card.

Card Swap – Card swap is a trick fraudsters use at ATMs to steal your card.  First, they observe you keying in your PIN and then they distract you before the ATM transaction completes. (For example by saying you have dropped money.)  When you look away they swap your card for another card and quickly go to another ATM where they withdraw as much money as possible out of your account.  The swap buys them time, because the ATM user does not realise a swap has taken place and therefore does not immediately report the theft.

CEO Fraud – A business is targeted (usually an employee authorised to make payments) by a fraudster using bogus emails that claim to be from a senior member of staff within the organisation requesting an urgent payment or electronic transfer be made outside of normal procedures or trading patterns. This Fraud is also known variously as ‘CEO Fraud’ and business e-mail compromise (BEC) scams.

Counterfeit Card – Counterfeit card fraud can occur when a criminal skims (copies) the data held on the magnetic stripe of a legitimate credit or debit card and uses this data to create a fake plastic card which contains the real cards details – this is known as a counterfeit card.  This card is then used to purchase goods or services or to withdraw cash at ATMs in countries that have not yet implemented Chip and PIN technology.

Distraction Theft – A thief observes you keying in your PIN while using an ATM or paying in a store.  They then distract you during or shortly after the transaction and during the distraction steal your card.  Common distraction methods are, bumping in to you, pointing out money on the ground or asking for directions.

Identity Theft – The fraudulent practice of using another person’s name and personal information in order to obtain credit, loans, etc.  Many methods are used to steal the individual’s identity, including looking through bins, harvesting information through phishing (fake emails), vishing (phone scams) or smishing (text messages) or infecting the individual’s computer with malware.

Investment Scams – Generally targeted at the 55+ age group and often sophisticated enough to lure even experienced investors. Also known as “boiler room scams” because they use high pressure sales and create a sense of urgency. Common investment scams include offering shares, or a range of investment “opportunities” including buying rare metals, gemstones, wine, oversea land investments, carbon credits and alternative energy.

Job Opportunity Scam – A fraudster poses as an employer or recruiter and offers attractive employment opportunities that require the job seeker pay money in advance. Once the money has been paid over the fraudster disappears, leaving the job seeker with no job and out of pocket.

Malware – Abbreviation for  “malicious software”, an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile and  intrusive software, including computer viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, spyware, adware, and other malicious programmes.

Miracle Product Scam – Includes fake advertising or sharp practise advertising usually offering a free trial for products which produce “miracle results” e.g. rapid weight loss, elimination of wrinkles etc.  With fake advertisements, no product exists and it is simply a method of stealing card details.  With hidden terms and conditions, the cardholder may be tied into an ongoing financial commitment unless they cancel within a certain time period.

Money Transfer Scam – Any type of scam that tricks the victim into transferring money to a criminal or fraudster.

Phishing – Phishing is the attempt by fraudsters to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and card details via email. They act as a trustworthy institution, such as your bank or financial institution.  The information they gain can then be used to access your bank account or card.

Pharming – the fraudulent practice of directing Internet users to a bogus website that mimics the appearance of a legitimate one, in order to obtain personal, financial or security information.

PIN – Abbreviation of Personal Identification Number. For example ATM cards have a four-digit PIN

Ransomware – A type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

Romance Scam – A  confidence trick involving false romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud by gaining the victim’s trust.

Skimming – Occurs when a criminal skims (copies) the data held on the magnetic stripe of a legitimate credit or debit card and uses this data to create a fake plastic card which contains the real cards details – this is known as a counterfeit card.

Smishing – Smishing (a combination of the words SMS (text message) and Phishing) is the attempt by fraudsters to acquire personal, financial or security information by text message. They act as a trustworthy source, such as a bank, card issuer or utility provider.  The information they gain can be used to access your bank account or card.

Social Engineering /SE – Social engineering fraud’ is a broad term that refers to the scams used by criminals to trick, deceive and manipulate their victims into giving out confidential information and funds. Criminals exploit a person’s trust in order to find out their banking details, passwords or other personal data. Scams are carried out online – for example, by email or through social networking sites – by telephone, or even in person.