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BLACK FRIDAY & CYBER MONDAY SCAMS – APPROACH WITH CAUTION

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By Steve Mulhearn, Director of Enhanced Technologies UKI & DACH at Fortinet

 

With 30% of all retail sales occurring between Black Friday and Christmas Day, it’s safe to say the festive shopping period is upon us. Indeed, since Black Friday and Cyber Monday were first launched in 2005, the retail holiday weekend has become a regular fixture on the annual shopping calendar with brands recouping lost sales, thus generating a significant portion of their annual revenue. According to Adobe Analytics, consumer spending over this period last year achieved 22% year-over-year growth, and 2021 is expected to be even higher.

 

No such thing as a free lunch

But whenever there’s bargains to be had, cybercriminals are preying on our desire to get a great deal. For example, let’s look at how cybercriminals are using fake Amazon gift card generators to steal cryptocurrency from consumers. The criminals were discovered by Fortinet Labs to be using fake documents to lure shoppers into giving out their personal information, such as credentials for online shopping sites, credit card numbers, and home addresses. A malicious application named Amazon Gift Tool.exe was found in a zip file hosted on a publicly available repository site. Despite not knowing specifically how this tool was viewed by potential shoppers, the scammers most likely promoted the tool as a free Amazon gift card generator.

Steve Mulhearn

Clearly, a tool that provides free gift cards does not exist. However, faced with the right con – putting shoppers into what psychologists call a ‘hot state’ – we’re all vulnerable. We don’t think so clearly when we are eager to spend during the Black Friday Cyber Monday frenzy. Losing the ability to do due diligence and the hope of getting something for free can be a compelling lure.

So when a distracted shopper used the fake Amazon gift card generator it rolled out a malicious winlogin.exe that surveyed his/her clipboard. The purpose of the malware was simple. If the shopper tried topping up their cryptocurrency wallet by copying and pasting the wallet address, the malware overwrote the wallet address on the clipboard with its own, resulting in the money potentially going to the fraudster.

Further investigation also found that the malicious winlogin.exe was distributed by a number of ‘Trojan droppers’ – applications that are seen as valuable to the shopper – with compelling names to dupe shoppers, such as Crunchyroll Breaker.exe, Netflix Tools.exe, Multi Gift Tools.exe. These tactics have been scamming people for years but given Amazon’s market pull, this iteration of the scam is particularly inviting.

Another scam FortiGuard Labs has observed more and more involves fake online sites that mimic trusted retail brands. To the untrained eye, these sites look safe but if the shopper isn’t paying attention they can steal the funds and worse still, payment information.

Fortinet recently came across live scams that leveraged the look and feel of global brands and their respective trademarks to compel and lure shoppers into making purchases from their site. These sites mimicked big brands Blink (Amazon), Nespresso and Shimano (to name a few), and were in no way affiliated with the trademark/IP owner. They were familiar only because they adopted the same template over and over in an online game of whack-a-mole – meaning that as soon as one site gets shut down another one immediately pops up somewhere else.

 

Common Framework

The fake websites observed have the following common traits:

  • Recently registered domain names
  • All sites are registered with the same registrar
  • The urls or internet addresses look a little suspicious, often ending in unusual domain names, such as.TOP and .SHOP (.com is also common)
  • They use stolen imagery
  • They have many linguistic mistakes
  • Social Media buttons lead to dead ends
  • Their webhosting providers use content delivery networks (CDN) to hide their identity (via an untraceable IP address)

Milwauketools.shop (Recently registered on 10/21/21)

Milwaukee Tools is a well-known and internationally established tool company that, like most big brands, sells products via authorised retailers online or in shops. Fortinet Labs recently discovered a registered online site, milwauketools[.]shop, that seemed authentic but on closer inspection the warning signals were obvious – a misspelled domain name coupled with very low prices raised alarm bells.

Big discounts, unless it’s for discontinued items, are usually a key indicator of a scam. This kit below is a perfect example – it normally sells for $659 yet it was being advertised for $99. This 85% discount coupled with high-pressure sales tactics claiming that stock is low or demand is high would likely be a successful prompt for an impulse shopper too excited to pay much attention to the deal.

 

Red Flags

Although the About US and Our Culture sections of this website appeared to be written by someone with a good grasp of English (likely stolen from a legitimate site), the ‘milwauketools’ string revealed a small error, suggesting that this was not related to the official Milwaukee Tools organisation, even though the trademarked logo in the screenshot below had the correct spelling. This suggests that the fraudster was following a template during the creation of this site.

Figure 3. About us page for impersonating site

Figure 5. Official Milwaukeetool.com website. Note they do not sell any products directly.

Another red flag was the domain’s creation date – the 21st of October – which at the time of writing made it less than a month old.

 

Who are the cybercriminals?

As the registrar of the domains and usage of CDN for these sites allow a high degree of anonymity, it’s difficult to identify who these scammers are and if they are working alone or as part of a larger group.

 

Secure shopping tips

When shopping this holiday season, it’s important that due diligence is performed, and websites are scrutinised for inconsistencies. Typos and grammatical mistakes can be strong indicators of fraud, and avoid impulse purchases that appear too good to be true. But ultimately, don’t panic. If you feel you have been the victim of a scam, please call your credit card company right away and inform them of a potential scam.

Remember, Black Friday and Cyber Monday scams depend on creating a sense of urgency, using these special shopping days to spur immediate action and grab deals before they are gone. Think before you click.

 

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TINTRA PLC FINALISES JOINT VENTURE WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE PARTNER TO BUILD INDUSTRY CHANGING REGULATORY TECHNOLOGY

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TINTRA PLC FINALISES JOINT VENTURE WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE PARTNER

Innovative fintech company, Tintra PLC(https://tintra.com/), has formed a joint venture with award-winning Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning business, TMC2, via its subsidiary Finsensr.

The Joint Venture will utilise or create advanced, end-to-end AI tech – some already patented – to revolutionise how compliance between developed and emerging market economies works. This exciting tech stack includes the utilisation of lightning-fast large scale predictive modelling and semantic embeddings of financial data; together with the development of scalable efficient solutions based on customised shallow classifiers, deep learning, and Bayesian inference for robust and explainable predictive modelling.

Tintra is focused on enabling financial institutions, EMI’s, multi-nationals, and large corporates in the emerging world to gain access to banking systems that understand their geographic need. Using pioneering payments technology and compliance infrastructure will evolve the global banking industry. Where other fintech’s iterate, Tintra will innovate across the space.

In forming a joint venture with TMC2 – the team behind Mashtraxx, the AI engine being used to power a multi-billion dollar US based social media platform – Tintra aims to eliminate or radically improve the well documented emerging market issues of KYC & AML. The mission is to utilise these solutions to democratise financial regulation and level the playing field for all markets and make access to the global market place as seamless in Africa or Asia as it is in Europe or the United States.

 

Gary Wright, lead for TMC2 in the transaction stated, said “We are extremely excited to enter into this long-term partnership with Tintra to support the expansion of its business through the use of our leading-edge artificial intelligence. 

Our in-house team includes PHDs in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning. A Senior Executive Team with experience in the financial sector across financial services, Technology, Corporate banking, Investment management, Fund Management, and transaction services. With our key personnel gaining experience in institutions including Sungard, Mann Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, M&G, Prudential, Simplex Technology amongst a host of others

We are setting out to create the next generation of intelligent automated AI RegTech that we are confident will help power another billion-dollar unicorn, like Mashtraxx before it. We hope that this will revolutionise how the financial services industry fulfils the complex demands of KYC and AML compliance and regulatory legislation”

Tintra PLC is publicly listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and also available on the OTCQB Venture Market in New York.

In early November 2021, the PLC unveiled plans to raise additional capital to accelerate its growth strategy.

 

For more about Finance Derivative.

 

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CELLPOINT DIGITAL PARTNERS WITH VYNE TO ENABLE INSTANT OPEN BANKING PAYMENTS FOR MERCHANTS

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CELLPOINT DIGITAL PARTNERS WITH VYNE TO ENABLE INSTANT OPEN BANKING PAYMENTS FOR MERCHANTS

The partnership will allow CellPoint Digital customers to incorporate Vyne into its payment ecosystem and access instant payments without a need for direct integration.

 

Payment orchestration leader CellPoint Digital today announces a partnership with full stack account-to-account (A2A) payments specialist, Vyne. This partnership allows the Vyne platform to offer instant payments to CellPoint Digital’s merchant customers, allowing users to check-out faster than ever before and reducing merchant transaction costs.

Through CellPoint Digital’s Velocity Payment Orchestration Platform, merchants can easily incorporate Vyne into their payment ecosystem, providing all the speed and convenience of instant payments without the need for a direct integration with an open banking provider. With transactions intelligently routed and monitored in real-time, merchants can analyse performance and use data to cut costs, boost acceptance rates, and simplify operations via automated reconciliation.

By partnering with Vyne, CellPoint Digital’s merchants can now access improved payment experiences too. Harnessing open banking technology, the Vyne solution allows online shoppers to check out in as few as three clicks and offers settlements within seconds.

 

CellPoint Digital CEO, Kristian Gjerding, said: “The partnership with Vyne represents a significant addition to CellPoint’s payments offering. Merchants currently using our Velocity Payment Orchestration Platform can utilise all the benefits of the Vyne platform within their payments ecosystem and this will provide merchants with a greater opportunity to grow their business.

“At CellPoint, we put much stock into our partnerships. To us, they are more than simply functional and with Vyne being fellow innovators in the payments space with a track-record of supplying top tier merchants, we look forward to developing a long-lasting, collaborative relationship.”

The Vyne solution functions by using a customer’s existing online banking app to initiate and authenticate a transfer. As a result, the customer does not need to enter their account information online and sensitive financial details are never held by the merchant, resulting in a more secure process for both parties. By enabling a payment method that can be completed in just three clicks, the platform provides a simple and seamless experience that can help to reduce cart abandonment.

 

Vyne CEO, Karl MacGregor, said: “Existing payments and banking solutions are broken, and stacked against the merchants and consumers that use them. Payment methods come with a variety of settlement formats and can take anything from days to weeks to complete with customer conversions impacted by manual card data entry.

Vyne provides a new, alternative payment method for merchants and their customers and we’re delighted that more people will benefit from it through this partnership. CellPoint merchants will now experience instant fund settlement and their customers will be able to complete payments through their own banking apps in just a few taps with no card details needed. Merchants can also engage customers at the right time, through the right channels, using pay by link or QR codes, which can be sent via email, SMS, in app or used for in person sales.

“We look forward to working closely with CellPoint and empowering merchants with a level of payments functionality that can drive real, measurable growth.”

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