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In This Issue
Fraud Trends 2010
Password Security and Accessing Your ProPay Account
The Relationship between Small Business and Social Media
Keeping your Personal Computers and Children Safe
Upcoming ProPay Events
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Greetings!

"Data security" and "identity theft" are terms that have become so common-place that, for some, they have almost lost their meaning.  The media and even business partners have beaten this drum so much, that the beat becomes background noise.  Unfortunately, data thieves are not taking a rest just because the issues of data security and identity theft have become so high-profile.  In fact, many data thieves rely on the complacency of people.  Easy to guess passwords and forgetting to install new patches provides these thieves with easy access to personal information. 

In this issue, ProPay's data security and fraud experts provide some simple steps that everyone can use to better protect their personal data.

Additionally, this issue discusses the use of social media and networking sites for small business marketing.  Social media has become the new "wave" in marketing. Small businesses are able to take advantage of this new marketing channel, but must also be aware of the risks.   

We hope that you find the information in this newsletter to be useful.  As always, feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone that might be interested. 
 
 
Sincerely,
 
 
The ProPay Team
newsletter@propay.com
888-227-9856
Fraud Trends 2010
by Drew Petersen, AVP Risk Management


If you have not taken the time to read First Data's "Fraud Trends in 2010" whitepaper, I would strongly suggest you do so.  Among other trends, it highlights the growing underground world of fraud, and how this, like many legitimate markets, has great opportunity and potential. 

The anonymity and reach of the internet have created a unique opportunity and we can now see it has created a successful environment to perpetrate fraud.  You can use the internet for Christmas shopping, finding long-lost friends, helping with your children's homework,  as well as buying and selling stolen identities, credit cards, and other sensitive data.  The speed and ease of selling stolen sensitive data is resulting in a higher demand.  Fraudsters understand this and are evolving.  They are more knowledgeable and seem to be more daring, as evidenced by some of the large data breaches we've seen in the payment processing world over the past few years. 

It's been stated several times over that we need to stay ahead of fraud or we will become a victim of it, which is absolutely true.  Make no mistake, fraud is a growing industry.  Not only do you need to stay ahead by being innovative and effective, but you need to understand this developing fraud industry and be ready for the complications it brings to your doors.  Understanding the trends that are developing and the schemes used by fraudsters and criminals will allow merchants to be proactive in protecting themselves and their customers.  

The Fraud Trends in 2010 whitepaper can be found at:  http://www.firstdata.com/downloads/thought-leadership/fraudtrends2010_wp.pdf

Password Security and Accessing Your ProPay Account
by Gary Fewkes, Customer Service Manager


Having a secure password is one of the best ways users can keep their ProPay account secure.  Merchant accounts requiring additional security measures, in addition to a password, can help protect from fraud. ProPay helps with password security by requiring passwords to be at least eight characters long and contain three of these four requirements: an uppercase letter, a lower case letter, a number, and a symbol.

 
ProPay provides additional security by requiring users to set up multiple challenge questions, as well as entering a CAPTCHA image. This image prevents automated software from attempting to gain access to online accounts.  ProPay makes it faster for users to login to the account by allowing ProPay to remember your computer, simply by clicking a box. Checking the box will allow the account holder to skip the challenge questions and CAPTCHA image because you have successfully accessed the ProPay account on that computer before. However, if you have cleared your cache and cookies, the next time the account is accessed, you will be asked to answer the challenge questions and enter the CAPTCHA image again.
 
Keep these recommendations in mind when creating a password. Create one that is easy to remember. Avoid words such as proper names, dictionary words, or terms from television shows or novels. Avoid foreign words, do not use personal information, and avoid inverting words. Avoid using the same password for all your accounts. Make your ProPay account password  different from your email account password.. Don't write your password down . Lastly, remember ProPay employees will NEVER ask users for the password.
The Relationship between Small Business and Social Media
by Dr. Heather Mark, SVP, Market Strategy
 
Social media is omnipresent.  Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have, strangely enough, become common terms in many business discussions.  A study performed by the University of Maryland's Robert H Smith School of Business revealed that 75% of the small business surveyed had a company page on Facebook, Linkedin or a similar networking site.  Given the current economic turbulence and relatively low barriers to entry in the world of Social Media Marketing, it should come as no surprise that small businesses are leveraging an opportunity to market their company at little or no cost.  In leveraging this new medium, though, businesses must be aware of both the advantages and the risks. 
 
The advantages of social media for small businesses are apparent.  It's a pervasive medium, meaning that businesses can spread their marketing messages much wider and more cost-effectively than they could using traditional marketing channels.  Marketing and communications with customers and prospective customers becomes real-time and bi-directional.  Customers can communicate with the businesses, allowing the business to evaluate the impact of their marketing campaign almost instantly.  Social media really brings the traditional "grass-roots" type of marketing into the digital age.  Friends can encourage one another to "follow" business and products.  Further, many social media platforms are beginning to integrate payment options, moving the dial from social media marketing to social media commerce.  In this way, social media becomes a force multiplier for the small business. 
 
While it has many advantages, however, the use of social media also brings additional considerations.  Because the communication occurs so quickly, it must be carefully monitored to ensure that the messages that are posted are positive - or at least not offensive, libelous or otherwise defamatory.  The small business must also carefully control the administrative access to these accounts to ensure that they are not "hijacked" and used for purposes not consistent with the objectives of the business.  Security and privacy issues in social media platforms are well-documented.  Many of the prominent social media sites have recently dealt with very public issues regarding the sharing of information among third party companies.  Small businesses will be impacted by these issues, unless they are very conscientious in the management of privacy and access rights among their own accounts. 
 
Managing the identity of the business once it has been introduced to the social media realm can be extraordinarily complicated.  The small business that makes the move towards social media marketing must be committed to actively managing the business' online identity. 
Keeping your Personal Computers and Children Safe
by Chris Mark, Exec. Vice President, Data Security & Compliance


While we lock the doors to our homes and automobiles and teach our kids to not talk to strangers, it is unfortunate that many people do not apply the same caution with their computer systems.

A personal computer can be used to invite criminals into your home.  Many personal computers now offer built in webcams.  Some fraudsters take advantage of the community who may not be quite up to date with technology and will even go so far as to secretly record them with their webcams.  In fact, one person was arrested in July 2010 for using malicious software to record young girls with their own webcams.  You can read the article here.
 
While this short post precludes a detailed discussion of how computers may be infected, you can read the ProPay Whitepaper:  Data Compromise Basics 2010
There are some important steps you can take to protect your home, your data, and your families from online predators. 
1.       Educate, educate, educate! Ensure your children understand the online threats.  The 16 year old "cute girl" your son is chatting with may not actually be 16 years old, or a girl.  You can visit www.staysafeonline.com for more information.
2.       Disable file sharing software.  File sharing programs make it easy for people to share photos and other documents.  Unfortunately, they also make it easy for criminals to 'share' your personal information. 
3.       Monitor your children while online.  Consider placing the computer in a public area where it can be viewed. 
4.       Ensure patches are installed.  While it can be an inconvenience to install patches and restart systems, it is very important to protect your computer.  Set your system for automatic updates.
5.       Use a firewall to protect your network.  There are many inexpensive firewalls which are easy to configure.  Cisco, Netgear, and D-Link all have inexpensive, easily configured firewalls.
6.       Install and use malicious software protection (anti-virus).  A good source to evaluate the products can be found on this link.
7.       Do not click on email attachments. Do not click on email attachments unless you know what they are and are sure of the source.  An easy way to infect a system is simply to have someone open an infected attachment.  Be very leery of attachments.
8.       Use a content filter.  While many people think content filters are only forchildren, many companies now use them to prevent employees from either intentionally or accidentally visiting dangerous sites.  Content filters can be used to filter pornography and other types of site and can help protect your personal information.  Here is a good resource for content filters.
 
Educating each family member about safe practices and continually updating services, will have a large impact on fraudsters trying to access and takeover the personal computer.  
Upcoming ProPay Events
The ProPay Website is getting a makeover, and we're going to reveal it very soon!
 
Here is a sneak peak at some of the exciting changes we're making with the new design:
 
Old Look:
ProPay Old Website
New Look:

New ProPay Website
  • Login - Easier to find Login.
  • Navigation - Improved navigation enables you to access content with one click.         
  • Product/Service Information - More information about ProPay's broad range of payment services and products.
  • Resources - More content that can help you learn about payment security. 
  • ProPay Blog and Newsletter - An entirely new feature where you can read expert articles to help you run your business.                                                                                                
  • Search Capability - Also a new feature to help you find what you are looking for at ProPay.com.

DISCLAIMER:  ProPay, Inc. provides this newsletter only for general information or educational purposes.  Nothing herein should be relied upon without seeking the advice of an attorney or other professional appropriate to the subject matter.  While ProPay, Inc. strives to ensure information in this newsletter is accurate and current, ProPay, Inc. does not guarantee or represent that the information is correct, complete, or up-to-date; nor shall ProPay, Inc. be liable for any indirect, incidental or consequential damages (including lost data, information or profits) sustained or incurred in connection with the use of, operation of, or reliance upon any information contained in this newsletter.