An executive with The Members Group, a credit card processing CUSO affiliated with the Iowa Credit Union League, warns credit unions to adopt a more nuanced and heightened card fraud awareness this summer.
"Knowing full well that FIs will be faced with a series of odd purchase transaction reports throughout the summer months, criminals prey on issuers with an inability to distinguish fraudulent activity from typical travel-time spending, especially with purchases made at high-traffic destination locations," wrote Karen Postma, senior card risk manager for TMG in a white paper called "Card Fraudsters Get Tricky With Travel."
Credit union card issuers will face a narrow path between seeing unusual and out of pattern card transactions from vacationing cardholders, which might conceal fraudulent transactions and suspending or blocking a card at a very inconvenient time for cardholders, Postma wrote.
To counter the threat, Postma advocated credit unions work with service providers on tiered strategies that will better protect them from fraud and also continue educating their cardholders about card fraud risk.
"Your cardholders should always be encouraged to share their travel plans with you, the card issuer, as well as provide you with the best phone number they can be reached at while traveling," Postma wrote. "This allows you to set specific parameters for fraud detection and do so without interrupting the transaction approvals cardholders expect while away from home. This is particularly important for travelers headed to destinations abroad."