As cyber-attacks and fraudulent activities follow mobile payments into the global marketplace, airlines must adopt and deploy internal solutions that can monitor, alert and halt fraudulent activity and simultaneously protect their valuable frequent-flyer programs from digital threats, according to CellPoint Mobile.

A global payment solutions company, CellPoint Mobile makes the case for enhanced fraud-prevention strategies in the wake of reports showing that mobile payments, which currently represent 14% of U.S. merchant transactions, make up a disproportionate 21% of fraud cases.

"About 40% of airlines have experienced some type of loyalty fraud, and about the same percentage have no security measures to protect their frequent-flyer programs," says CellPoint Mobile CEO Kristian Gjerding. "With nearly two in five travel bookings now made in the mobile environment, fraudulent activity will inevitably follow. Airlines need solutions that can protect payments, passengers, loyalty program value and their reputations."


Anti-fraud solutions can protect airlines, passengers, brand equity
In addition to targeting mobile payments, predicted to rise from $32 billion in 2013 to $67 billion in 2015, according to Forrester Research, some hackers are targeting airline's frequent flyer miles, estimated at $21.4 billion in 2015, says Gjerding. Common schemes include:


  • Outright hacks of members' accounts and theft/transfer of miles
  • Online mileage brokers, who buy unused miles from members and sell them for cash (or other goods) at far below market value
  • Employee theft and manipulation of miles, points and rewards

Fraud-related airline vulnerabilities include loss of the stolen miles, loss of the miles' financial asset value, reimbursement costs, and eroded passenger confidence. CellPoint Mobile urges airlines to treat frequent-flyer and loyalty accounts as bank accounts and to halt fraud with:


  • Stepped-up authentication measures for members' rewards and frequent flyer programs
  • Real-time transaction-tracking solutions to monitor fraud proactively
  • Alerts that can flag signs of fraud, including questionable transactions or requests below configured thresholds
  • Higher-level measures, including mobile-optimized security features, multi-factor authentication, voice and biometric security, one-time passwords, device fingerprinting and stored payment information