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Visa launches new channel to fight online fraud

For immediate release

Visa launches new channel to
help fight online fraud

March 30, 2004: As part of the ongoing drive to identify and shut down fraudulent email and spoof websites, Visa International has set up an alert channel for its 6 million cardholders in Australia to report suspicious online communication which claims to be from Visa. is a dedicated address to which potential scam email or information on fraudulent websites can be sent. The new anti-email fraud service can be found at

Visitors to the site will also find consumer tips such as how to distinguish a spoofed email from legitimate business correspondence; what the latest fraudulent emails look like; and how to avoid falling victim to “phishing” scams. "Phishing" is a common technique which fraudsters use to trick cardholders into disclosing confidential information to a fraudulent email or website which appears to come from a legitimate source, such as Visa or a major bank.

In recent months Visa has identified and shut down a number of spoofed websites around the world set up to compromise cardholders' personal information. New Zealand and Australian cardholders have also alerted visa to a number of email scams.

Belinda Leonard, Country Manager for Visa New Zealand, said: “Unfortunately, criminals will always think up new ways to try to deceive unsuspecting cardholders into sharing personal, financial information – and spoofing or phishing attacks over the Internet are the latest threat.

“We want to equip Visa cardholders in New Zealand with information about phishing and spoof websites so that they don’t let their guard down. They also need to know where they can turn to for assistance and how they can assist in stamping out this activity. As more consumers are made aware of this fraudulent activity, hopefully fewer people will fall victim to them.”

Visa advises cardholders never to respond to emails requesting details of their credit cards such as account number, card expiration date, ATM PIN number or other personal identifiers such as a mother's maiden name.

“Visa cardholders should be aware that Visa would never initiate contact with them by email or phone to seek personal or confidential information. Visa also does not request information through links embedded in an email. Such email requests should be treated as fraudulent and immediately brought to the attention of Visa for action,” Ms Leonard said.

“Criminal efforts to replicate or “spoof” legitimate websites and collect personal or financial data from unsuspecting consumers do occur from time to time. Visa is not immune from this illegal practice, but it does take numerous steps to ensure card security. Visa has many safeguards and detection systems in place, but prompt action by alert cardholders remains a very important method of stopping deceitful activities.”

Cardholders who suspect that they have received fraudulent email or know of fraudulent websites claiming to be from Visa, can report them at Visa’s security department will immediately investigate the activity, and work with local law enforcement to close down as quickly as possible websites or email scams that are fraudulent.

If a cardholder suspects that he or she has given away confidential information to a fraudulent site, they should contact their card-issuing bank immediately.

# # #

About Visa International

Visa is the world's leading payment brand generating more than US$2.7 trillion in annual card sales volume. Visa has unsurpassed acceptance in more than 150 countries. The Visa organization plays a pivotal role in developing innovative payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa is a leader in Internet based payments and is pioneering the creation of u-commerce, or universal commerce, the ability to conduct commerce anywhere, anytime and any way. In Asia Pacific, Visa has a greater market share than all other payment card brands combined with 62 percent of all card purchases at the point of sale being made using Visa cards. There are currently 198 million Visa-branded cards in the region. During the 12 months ended 30 September 2003, US$428 billion was spent at point of sale or withdrawn from ATMs in Asia Pacific using Visa cards

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