When a fraud pioneer talks, merchant audiences listen—closely. Keynote addresses at the 2017 CNP Expo kicked off today with former U.S. Most Wanted hacker and fraudster Brett Johnson. The capacity general session audience was wowed by tales of Johnson’s exploits and those of his former confederates—some of the most notorious cybercriminals in history.
Johnson, who now makes his living consulting for CNP companies that want to know how they are being defrauded by his criminal descendants, also shared some of the tactics they use in the most pernicious forms of fraud currently affecting CNP merchants—friendly fraud, ATOs and synthetic fraud. Merchants around the room, many who by a show of hands had never heard of synthetic fraud, were walked through a typical scam by Johnson and the lengths organized fraudsters will go to in search of vulnerabilities.
“Synthetic fraud accounts for 80 percent of all new account fraud,” Johnson explained to the rapt audience. “Last year, it accounted for $50 billion in theft.”
He went on to describe how fraudsters often use a child’s Social Security Number married with a made up name and birthdate to establish the identity. Then they apply for credit and quickly build a credit score by piggybacking on the good credit of others. After that, Johnson said, “fraudsters can apply for loans, they can apply for store credit, they can apply for credit cards and they can cash out phenomenally well.”
Throughout his address, audience members were snapping photos of the slides on their smartphones to capture the takeaways and advice he was offering.
For CNP Expo attendees who want more of Brett, he will be appearing at two merchant-only Q&A sessions throughout the rest of the event this week. Today at 4:15 p.m. he will engage with merchants in Conference Room B and Thursday at 8:15 a.m. he will appear with the other half of our Cops-and-Robbers duo—law enforcement officer John Pizzuro—in another Q&A in Conference Room A.