Christmas cards fraud can be a significant threat to businesses online. Attackers create fake accounts for a variety of reasons, both benign and malicious. Benign attacks are usually manually crafted, while malicious ones often use automation and are driven by financial objectives via fraudulent means. In either case, these activities put the company at risk of loss of revenue and profit.
To create a fake account, attackers typically leverage a script or automated tool that inputs data into all fields of the registration application. To speed up the process, they may use API calls to services that solve CAPTCHA challenges or disposable email address services. In this way, they can create dozens of accounts in minutes.
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These fake accounts are then used for a number of purposes. For example, criminals will abuse loyalty points and rewards programs by claiming or harvesting credits or points from the company’s platform. They will also attempt to circumvent free trial limits or bonus schemes.
Alternatively, they will impersonate celebrities or high profile individuals to spread spam or offensive content. They may also attempt to smuggle stolen data by creating a fake account in the name of a celebrity or important person in order to gain access to a sensitive area or to obtain personal details.
To prevent these kinds of attacks, it is vital to incorporate verification and authentication into the account creation journey. This could be done by using bot detection to flag suspicious behavior, adding challenge questions to the registration flow requiring additional information from the user such as email or phone number validation or even utilizing identity verification services like PingOne Verify to verify new users’ true identities.