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MasterCard Targets "Phishing" Sites & Crooks

MasterCard and NameProtect Unite to Close Down “Phishing” Sites and Online ‘Payment Card Black Markets’

The Anti-ID theft partnership is the first of its kind in the financial services industry, and will work closely with law enforcement authorities.

Definition of “Phishing”: Fraudulent e-mails and websites to lure consumers into divulging personal financial information.

30 June, 2004 – MasterCard International and NameProtect, the leading digital fraud detection company, have announced they are working together to aggressively combat illegal online activities such as “phishing” identity theft schemes and the brokering of illegally obtained payment card numbers in the online environment.

The deal has just been signed in the USA but has global reach and is effective immediately in New Zealand.

The partnership represents a fundamental shift in the way the financial services industry is dealing with the rising tide of payment fraud.

Rather than simply reacting to online fraud and identity theft after it has occurred, MasterCard and NameProtect will take a more aggressive approach to the wave of cyber scams attacking online consumers and companies today. Under the partnership, MasterCard will leverage NameProtect’s technology to detect online scams in real-time as they proliferate across the Internet. Working in cooperation with law enforcement, the partnership will seek to dismantle the online tools and venues that are used by identity thieves before they can be used to steal personal information from unsuspecting consumers and help ensure that cyber criminals are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

If any “phishing” sites are found in New Zealand, MasterCard and NameProtect will provide the data to the affected institution in the first instance, and would work with the relevant law enforcement authority as and when appropriate.

“We are confronting identity theft head-on by taking the fight directly to where payment card scams breed and spread,” said Tim Morris, vice president and Regional Head for Security and Risk Management , Asia/Pacific, MasterCard . “By identifying these illegal card number-swapping rings and working to close down these online ’payment card black markets,’ as well as sites that are established solely to steal personal information, we can squash illegal activity before people’s accounts are compromised.”

NameProtect also will help protect MasterCard’s own identity from being stolen by seeking out fraudsters attempting to spoof MasterCard’s logo and other branding insignia to use for phishing attacks.

The first-of-its-kind partnership comes at a time when identity theft and other forms of card fraud are on the rise globally and in New Zealand.

Phishing attacks also have increased significantly. Many times, these scams and other forms of fraud are perpetuated by criminals buying and selling card numbers and other personal information via hidden online forums.

As part of the arrangement, NameProtect will use its industry-leading Internet detection technology and systems to continuously monitor domain names, web pages, online discussions spam e-mail, and other online formats to identify online trading rings, phishing attacks, and other forms of online fraud the moment each attack is launched online. NameProtect then provides real-time exclusive reports back to MasterCard.

MasterCard in turn will be able to report illegal websites and other illegal online forums to the proper authorities Through its MC Alerts service, MasterCard also can provide this information immediately to its nearly 25,000 member financial institutions, which can use it to protect themselves and their millions of cardholders from having card accounts compromised.

“The MasterCard initiative is compelling in its scope and reach”, said Mark McLane, NameProtect Inc. Chief Executive Officer. “The financial services industry and their customers are the subject of growing and increasingly sophisticated attacks online. This partnership creates a platform to attack the source of Internet-based fraud.

“The integration of the existing MC fraud alert system, leveraging global law enforcement, and the use of NameProtect industry-leading technology takes the commitment to battle identity theft and card fraud to a new level. We are extremely pleased to be helping MasterCard provide this best in class solution to the accelerating problem of Internet-based identity theft and payment card fraud. MasterCard’s leadership in combating this critical threat will help to protect not only its own customers, but will help ensure that these attacks do not erode the consumer confidence that is critical to health of the Internet as we know it today.”

Consumers can take proactive steps to thwart identity theft, such as:

Regularly obtaining personal credit reports and carefully reviewing the information. Question – and correct – any inaccuracies.

Try to avoid providing their mother’s maiden name as a security feature. In many cases, identity thieves can find this information with little difficulty. Instead, consumers should substitute a name of personal significance, such as a grandmother’s maiden name, a friend or family member’s nickname, or a favorite author’s name.

Assigning a separate password for each account requiring one. This step can help limit the amount of damage a criminal can do.

Shredding documents that contain important personal information such as account numbers before discarding.

About MasterCard International

MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members' credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs. MasterCard International manages a family of well-known, widely accepted payment cards brands including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus® and serves financial institutions, consumers and businesses in over 210 countries and territories. The MasterCard award-winning Priceless® advertising campaign is now seen in 96 countries and in 47 languages, giving the MasterCard brand a truly global reach and scope. For more information go to www.mastercardinternational.com.

About NameProtect Inc.

NameProtect® is a Digital Asset Protection company that provides digital fraud detection and eMarket Intelligence to leading corporations worldwide. Leveraging its advanced web crawling and analysis technology, NameProtect delivers critical online information for the protection of brand assets, recovery of diverted revenues and detection of online identity theft and fraud in today's global economy.

Founded in 1997, NameProtect is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin and is privately held. Additional information about NameProtect can be obtained via the company’s Web site located at http://www.nameprotect.com.

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