We in YouTrip take fraud prevention seriously and use both data and technology to combat fraud. We want to share with the community a recent case where we worked with the Singapore Police Force and how we helped resolve fraud.
On 13 February 2019, the Singapore Police Force charged 4 individuals with syndicated credit card fraud. These individuals were charged for stealing bank credit or debit card information via external means, and using these stolen cards to top up their YouTrip accounts. Another 15 are currently also under investigation.
These suspects were initially flagged out by YouTrip’s Fraud Monitoring System, which continuously analyses transaction patterns and detects early signals of suspicious activities. We immediately handed over the case to the police to expedite investigations, which include a total of 18 suspects with more than 85 fraudulent credit card top up transactions.
In the spirit of transparency, we want to share with our community and users what went down in the investigations, how we worked with the Singapore Police Force, and measures taken to protect consumers against fraud.
Investigating & tracing transaction patterns using Data Analytics
Throughout late December and January, our Fraud Monitoring System, which traces and detects early signals of suspicious transactions, flagged out two key signals to our attention:
- Signal 1: High top up amount followed by immediate purchases or cash withdrawals to deplete the account balance
- Signal 2: High frequency of failed top up with incorrect credit / debit card credentials
By combining these two key signals and using Data Analytics techniques, we traced these signals to a specific small group of users who exhibited both behaviors. A special task force made up of Fraud Monitoring specialists and engineers was immediately set up to carry out detailed investigations. Through these investigations, we found out more transaction and usage signals that have high correlation to potentially fraudulent activities, including concentration on common merchant names (e.g. overseas ATM locations), common transaction locations, chargebacks, and citizen’s reports received, etc.
We concluded that there is a high chance that a group of 18 users may have fraudulently obtained information or cards of more than 85 fraudulent credit or debit card top up transactions used to top up YouTrip accounts. The accounts were immediately suspended.
Cooperating with the Singapore Police Force
After further investigation and with sufficient evidence available, we took the matter to the Singapore Police Force immediately to expedite investigations. Our team then worked round the clock along with the Police to provide further details on these transactions and linked users.
We are extremely thankful for the swift and dedicated response by the Police and were able to contain the extent of these fraud activities in the shortest time possible. The case is currently under litigation. As of February 13, 2019, 4 individuals have been charged and 15 others are under investigation. We will continue to update the community once there is further update on the case.
Further enhancing our security
At the same time that investigations were underway, our product and engineering teams have already rolled out a security update last week to mandatorily require OTP verification via SMS (to be sent by your credit card issuing bank), whenever a new credit or debit card is added for the first time on the YouTrip app. This helps to further eliminate cases of fraudulent use such as to perform top-ups on YouTrip accounts using stolen credit or debit cards, in addition to our current fraud monitoring and customer due diligence process.
YouTrip’s next steps
We will continue to work closely with the Singapore Police Force to follow up on this case and provide the necessary details regarding the suspects for the litigation procedures. We are also working with relevant institutions to ensure a proper arrangement for the affected individuals in this case.
YouTrip users can rest assured to continue to use YouTrip as per normal, as the suspicious activities have been contained to the current identified suspects. If you believe that you could be affected by this case and are seeing suspicious activities in your account, please reach out to our customer support team immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fraud prevention and security will continue to be YouTrip’s core mission to our users. We will continue to work tirelessly with the authorities and community to ensure a safe and seamless payment experience for all YouTrip users.