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How Content Abuse is giving rise to online Frauds, explains SIFT

Content abuse works as a cushion and bridges account takeover and payment fraud. It convinces users to share details or send money through fake messages, reviews, phishing or romance scams.

A report from Sift on 'Content Abuse and the Fraud Economy' explores the rising arena of online frauds and content abuse in 2020, detailing how content abuse tricks users for falling for the fraud and giving it an air of legitimacy.


The report also exposes a fraud ring in Russia that tested credit cards and wallets on e-commerce websites and posted false content.

Content Abuse 

The data used in the report came from 34,000 sites and with a survey of over 1000 users by Sift on Content Abuse.

Understanding the "Fraud Supply Chain: A Network of Content Abuse, Account Takeover (ATO) and Payment Fraud" -

As a market works on a proper chain of demand and supply similarly these fraud rings have a proper network where content abuse works as a bridge between Payment fraud and account takeover.

Account Takeover exposes financial credentials and includes stolen cards and debits or wallets that can be used for performing payment fraud whereas content abuse works as a cushion and bridges account takeover and payment fraud. It convinces users to share details or send money through fake messages, reviews, phishing, or romance scams. Payment fraud then is the goal of the above two where buying and selling could occur via the cards and info collected by Account Takeover and Content Abuse.

 According to the report fake content can be found in plenty on the Internet and the numbers are shocking. Consumers find 70% of content on social media fake, 40% on classified, 21% on travel sites, and 15% on Job Boards.

 The Bargaining Bear

Sift's data science team in June also discovered a fraud ring on an e-commerce market place that exploited account takeover and content abuse to check the credentials of stolen debit cards and wallets to see if they worked and how much were they worth.

 "To test dozens of stolen cards, they “sold” the items to each other, after “haggling” those prices down to $1.00 USD— a typical price used to test hijacked payment details. Each listing was uncharacteristic for this marketplace, purchased on the same day, and included several fake reviews to strengthen the appearance of authenticity.", stated the report. 

 The team working from Russia, made various sellers profiles (with the same IP address) and sold stuff at cheap prices and bought the materials themselves leaving fake content listings that gave a legitimate reputation to the seller for easy card testing.
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Content Abuse

Cyber Fraud.

Payment Fraud

Sift