The Timing of Fraud
The results of our latest case study confirms that fraudulent bookings are often organised within 7 days of the travel arrangements commencing and are rarely made beyond a month.
Flight only travel which departs within 7 days of the booking is highly risky as this occurs in the largest number of bookings which turn out to be fraudulently made either through identity fraud by the person booking it or through misused payment methods.
Payment Card schemes report to merchants on cloned and stolen cards but this generally takes at least 7 days to happen under the SAFE or TC40 schemes and by that point the fraudster has often travelled.
Data reported for the case study identified that 84% of fraud bookings commenced inside of 7 days and 93% commenced inside of 31 days from the date of booking.
Another aspect to consider is the time of day fraudulent bookings are made. The case study data shows that during the first half of 2014 46.44% of fraudulent bookings occurred outside of normal office hours (i.e. before 8am and after 6pm) this was similar to the 2013 figures which were at 47.58%.
It is apparent that fraudsters understand that call centres are less likely to have supervising staff available that might question or check a suspicious booking after certain times. The fraudsters are giving themselves the best chance of successfully booking travel arrangements under the radar and at the same time giving the card holder virtually no time to report the misuse of their card before their details are misused. This method of operating gives the travel company minimal time to spot and challenge the high risk booking before they book them with their suppliers and incur costs.
For most companies the timing of when a fraudulent booking is spotted is the key as it has a direct correlation on how much the fraudulent booking will cost them. Spot a fraud booking early enough, for example, before the payment card completes processing and you can ensure that no costs are incurred, but if travel arrangements are booked, fulfilled and used by the time a chargeback has been received the true costs could reach thousands of pounds.