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Now AI tackles fraud

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Mastercard has introduced Decision Intelligence, a comprehensive decision and fraud detection service which uses AI to help financial institutions increase the accuracy of real-time approvals of genuine transactions and reduce false declines.

This is the first use of AI being implemented on a global scale directly on the Mastercard network.

Current decision-scoring products are focused primarily on risk assessment, working within predefined rules. Decision Intelligence is a radical new approach that goes much further. It takes a broader view in assessing, scoring and learning from each transaction. That score then enables the card issuer to apply the intelligence to the next transaction.

“We are solving a major consumer pain point of being falsely declined when trying to make a purchase,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise risk and security, Mastercard. “By using AI technology on our global network, we’re helping financial institutions and merchants improve approval rates – and the consumer experience.”

How It Works

Building on other proprietary services, Decision Intelligence is a new way of solving an old problem using sophisticated algorithms to provide a predictive score to the issuer, based on intelligent analysis. They then incorporate that information into their existing fraud mitigation efforts. Alternatively, issuers can activate the holistic Mastercard tool, which makes data-driven, real-time decisions tailored to the account, including defined alert and decline thresholds.

The smart technology behind Decision Intelligence examines how a specific account is used over time to detect normal and abnormal shopping spending behaviours. In doing so, it leverages account information like customer value segmentation, risk profiling, location, merchant, device data, time of day, and type of purchase made.

Delivering Value in Every Tap, Dip or Swipe

Over the last few years, the industry has been increasingly focused on protecting payments and combating fraud, which is why striking the right balance in approving transactions and managing fraud is important.

“We estimate that in the U.S. alone, the value of false declines is more than 13 times the total amount lost to actual card fraud,” said Al Pascual, senior vice president, research director and head of fraud and security at Javelin Strategy & Research. “Applying machine learning to decision-scoring is a new way of creating a positive consumer experience, while also minimizing fraud.”

The addition of AI as a core component of the Mastercard network will deliver an enhanced fraud score for every transaction. This new functionality can help improve the accuracy of real-time approvals of genuine transactions and reduce false declines. In specific verticals, like fuel or ATM, the information could be used in real-time to react to potential concerns much quicker, reducing operational expenses like chargebacks.

This technology is a core feature on the enhanced World Elite platform and it also supports all Mastercard brands and products across all markets.

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Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards

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The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.

The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”

Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever AwardShe has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).

The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:

SPORT

The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognitionAge cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.

Click here to see who won the awards for data journalism , CSI/sustainability and photography.

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Cons exploit Telegram ICO

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Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.

In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.

Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.

The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.

Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.

“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:

  • Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
  • Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
  • Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.

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