Who’s responsible for online fraud?

Online fraud is on the rise, but who is ultimately responsible and what can you do to protect yourself?

Imagine: you found a great little site online, selling those boots you’ve been after for ages, at a great price.  You jump at the opportunity to grab quick bargain but didn’t realise that the site had poor encryption. You buy the boots and they come a few days later, but something else comes with it as well: unknown purchases on your credit card.

Sound familiar?  It should.   The more we shop online, the more chances we have for something to go wrong through no fault of our own.  But, here’s the catch: we know things can go wrong, but we also know that if something does, we can just call our bank to get the payment reversed or cancelled.  This has been a long standing part of internet shopping and it’s something that we, as consumers, feel reassured by.  After all: would you buy those shoes from an unknown online shop if you didn’t?  Probably not.

The problem is, banks are becoming increasing burdened by fraud like this.  We’re doing more and more shopping online these days, and more and more fraud is occurring as a result.

Kaspersky lab recently held a round-table discussion on what should (and can) be done to not only help the prevention of fraud, but also to discuss where responsibility lies.

Traditional thinking said that the responsibility lies with the bank.  Yet, most banks would disagree saying that customers need to be aware of the risks involved in online shopping.  Here at Kaspersky, we thought we’d ask the public, so we did a couple of surveys to gauge what people thought and the results were something of an eye opener:

Most people agreed that there’s a balance to be struck: banks aren’t the only ones responsible here and we should all play our part in prevention.  Indeed, those thoughts were echoed in the round table with Tony Neate, CEO of GetSafeOnline saying that ‘it’s all our responsibilities, but at the end of the day it lands with the consumer, or the small business or the large business.  Government and law enforcement have their part to play but we have to start looking at this in a different way.’

Charlie McMurdie, Senior Cybercrime advisor at PWC said that law enforcement and the retail consortium are working together to collate data and incidents but we need (as businesses and consumers) to take responsibility and we shouldn’t expect the police to fix everything for us.

So as with most things in life, a balance needs to be struck: customers need to be more aware of the risks, banks need to increase the level of security across their end-points and businesses need to up their game when it comes to security.

It’s safe to say, there’s no easy fix for online fraud and it’s not going to go away anytime soon, but there are things you can do to stay safe, including using an award-winning internet protection suite, reporting and fraudulent site or activity you find and just being more aware of internet dangers when shopping online.