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October 25, 2023

What Is Digital Wallet Fraud and How To Prevent It?

How digital wallets work, the risks of using them, and how to prevent fraud and protect your personal and financial information.

Digital wallets are becoming increasingly popular among consumers worldwide, offering a convenient and secure way to store payment information and make transactions via mobile devices. However, using a digital wallet introduces several risks that manifest at both the organizational and individual levels, including fraud, phishing scams, malware attacks, and social engineering tactics. This article explores digital wallet fraud more closely, looking at different types of fraud and suggesting ways to stop them.

Before hopping in to explain those frauds and its prevention methods, let’s find out what digital wallets are and how they work.

What Is The Digital Wallet?

A digital wallet, also known as an electronic wallet or e-wallet, is a type of financial transaction application that securely stores your payment information and passwords on any connected device. It allows you to make transactions electronically, eliminating the need to carry a physical wallet.

Digital wallets are convenient and safer than traditional wallets. You can store various items in a digital wallet, such as credit and debit cards, gift coupons, driver's licenses, identification cards, and even car keys. They are available for use at no cost, require only a smartphone, an internet connection, and a linked bank account, and offer multiple transaction capabilities. 

How Digital Wallets Work?

Digital wallets are a type of financial transaction application that securely stores your payment information and passwords on any connected device. They work by generating a pair of cryptographic keys, a public key known to others, and a private key known only to you, which are crucial for ensuring the security of your transactions. When you make a payment or transfer funds using your digital wallet, the process typically involves inputting the recipient's information, such as their digital wallet address or a QR code. Then, your wallet software signs the transaction with your private key, confirming your identity and authorizing the transfer. The transaction details are then broadcast to a network of computers, where they are validated and added to the ledger. Once confirmed, the recipient's digital wallet reflects the updated balance.

Digital wallets use tokenization to keep your payment information secure, and accessing your digital wallet involves other layers of security, like biometric authentication or a PIN, to protect your information. Once your digital wallet is set up, you can use it to make online or contactless payments, store tickets and coupons, and perform other tasks based on the features of your chosen wallet.

What Are The Disadvantages?

Digital wallets offer a number of benefits over traditional payment methods, but there are also some potential harms to be aware of. Security risks are a concern, as digital wallets can be hacked or targeted by cyberattacks. Fraudsters may also create fake QR codes that redirect users to malicious websites to steal their payment information. Technical issues can also prevent users from accessing their digital wallets and making payments. Additionally, digital wallets are not yet accepted by all merchants, so users may still need to carry around physical cards and cash.

Finally, some digital wallets charge hidden fees, such as transaction fees or foreign exchange fees. Despite these potential harms, digital wallets are a convenient and secure way to pay for goods and services. Users can minimize the risks by choosing a reputable digital wallet provider, being careful about where they scan QR codes, keeping their digital wallet app updated, being aware of the fees, and having a backup payment method.


Digital Wallet Fraud Types

Digital wallet fraud is any type of fraudulent activity that involves the unauthorized use of a person's digital wallet to make unauthorized transactions. This can include the use of stolen credit card information, or the creation of fake digital wallets to deceive individuals into providing their payment information. 

There are a number of different ways that digital wallet fraud can occur. Some of the most common methods include:

Account Takeover: This is the most common type of digital wallet fraud. It occurs when a fraudster gains unauthorized access to a digital wallet account. This can be done through phishing attacks, malware attacks, or by stealing a user's device. Once a fraudster has access to a digital wallet account, they can use it to make unauthorized purchases, transfer money, or steal personal information.

Phishing Attacks: involve sending fake emails or text messages that appear to be from a legitimate digital wallet provider. The messages trick users into clicking on a link that takes them to a fake website, where they enter their login information, which is then stolen by the fraudsters.

Malware: Malware is software that can be installed on a user's device without their knowledge or consent. Once malware is installed, it can steal the user's personal information, including their digital wallet account credentials.

Social Engineering: Fraudsters may use social engineering techniques to trick users into revealing their digital wallet credentials or other sensitive information. For example, they may send a phishing email that appears to be from a legitimate company, such as a bank or credit card company. The email may ask the user to click on a link and enter their login information.

Fake digital wallets: Fraudsters may create fake digital wallet apps that resemble legitimate apps. When users download and install a fake digital wallet app, the fraudsters are able to steal their personal information and payment information.

How Formica AI Prevent Digital Wallet Fraud

To prevent digital wallet fraud, individuals and organizations should implement a diverse strategy that includes strong ID verification and authentication, educating users, monitoring transactions for suspicious activity, keeping software up to date, and working with security researchers. Users should also practice good password hygiene, turn on two-factor authentication, and be cautious of phishing scams and malware attacks. Additionally, users should review their digital wallet purchases and transactions frequently, looking for anything suspicious, and contact the bank immediately if they find something that doesn't make sense.

Formica AI is an AI-powered fraud protection platform that helps businesses manage their digital footprint and prevent fraud with cutting-edge technology. It offers a comprehensive set of identity theft prevention tools, employing machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze customer information for differences and patterns suggestive of fraudulent activity. The platform can handle millions of transactions in real-time and take automatic actions based on rules set by the user, while also providing a comprehensive alarm management screen to analyze and investigate risky transactions and potential fraud incidents.

By using Formica AI, companies can quickly differentiate real behavior from abnormal behavior, identify problems and patterns that may suggest fraudulent activity, and develop more secure systems for identification.