Banks Lax On Fraud Involving Wealthy Clients

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By Casey B. Miller | Dec 5, 2011 | Updated: Sep 3, 2019

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New information from Wall Street analysts suggests that the most affluent consumers are the most attractive targets for instances of credit card fraud for one very alarming reason. Banks are inclined not to embarrass wealthy clients by declining transactions and as a result, they do not implement fraud technology on premium accounts.

In a report by Gartner and Javelin Strategy and Research, analysts explained how the latest in fraud protection tools are able to detect and predict fraudulent credit card transactions based on a live analysis of the cardholder’s usual spending habits.

Looking at preferred merchants, products and even transaction amounts can indicate whether or not a credit card account has been compromised.

In the event of suspicious activity, banks can decline a transaction or request a confirmation phone call from a merchant. However, this practice is thought to be a major reason why wealthy clients switch accounts to a rival bank. Since only 1 in every 20 suspicious high ticket transaction turns out to be fraudulent, a growing number of banks are preferring to fix the problem after the fact rather than try to deter it and risk angering a wealthy client.

A large number of banks do offer an alternative solution by offering real-time transaction alerts delivered via email or text message. If a transaction is fraudulent the consumer can then report this to the bank and streamline the process of rectifying the issue. However, this means that more often than not the issue is not highlighted until after it has taken place.

The report is backed up by the example of a group of credit card skimmers who were targeting around 50 American Express card members in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. The 28 individuals who were arrested had apparently been using their employment in high end restaurants to skim and clone credit cards belonging to the most affluent of the diners. The individuals would usually test the cards on short cab fares and would also use fake identity such as driver’s licenses to convince staff at larger stores such as Chanel and Cartier.

The fact that banks seem happy to tolerate credit card fraud rather than risk upsetting their clients is very unnerving. Surely consumers would prefer to be informed of any unusual transactions then have to spend time rectifying a situation in the event of a robbery happening.

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