Identity theft, ATM fraud 'top concerns' for Asians

Identity theft and ATM-related fraud are the top security concerns for Asian consumers, including those in Singapore, according to new findings by MasterCard.

In South-east Asia, 42 per cent of consumers surveyed were most concerned with ATM-related fraud such as a stolen card, card cloning or skimming.

About 35 per cent of South-east Asia respondents were concerned about identity theft in relation to data breaches, MasterCard said.

The payments technology firm said: "This includes personal data such as bank details, personal IDs, addresses, and signatures that are stolen or compromised through websites."

It added that those two security concerns were the result of perception of how serious fraud might be, based on media reports instead of their own experiences.

MasterCard executives here to attend its global risk leadership conferencelate last month said criminals are getting more creative in stealing data.

Mr Matthew Parciak, deputy chief information security officer, said: "Trend-wise, in the cyber security space, we're seeing that a lot of new attacks have an element of physical security to them. A good example would be if I wanted to do a cyber security attack, I might try to hack into the systems that control a building's fire alarms."

He added that that causes a physical distraction from the real attack.

In Singapore, 31 per cent of consumers felt very safe making electronic payments online, while 44 per cent felt safe with brick-and- mortar stores.

China was the outlier, with 40 per cent feeling safe making electronic payments online, and 35 per cent feeling that payment was safer at a physical store.

These findings were part of the MasterCard Safety and Security Index. Some 6,600 consumers and 100 merchants were polled between January and May across South-east Asia and mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Mr Bob Reany, senior vice- president of identity solutions, noted that the firm is working on a single way for consumers to be identified securely across various devices, when it comes to making online purchases.

This would be through authentication and biometrics technology, which he said includes facial and voice recognition, and wearables that could read heartbeats.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2015, with the headline 'Identity theft, ATM fraud 'top concerns' for Asians'. Print Edition | Subscribe