Unveiling the Menace of Impersonation-Type Banner Ad Fraud | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Unveiling the Menace of Impersonation-Type Banner Ad Fraud

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE

Credit card fraud continues to increase year by year. While the current mainstream methods are phishing and credit master, new techniques have emerged since the beginning of this year. One such type can be termed as impersonation banner advertisements. Although not entirely fraudulent, if left unattended, they can certainly lead to damage. What exactly are they? Experts will explain their contents and countermeasures.

If you think it’s part of the website you’re visiting and enter your card information.

Credit Card Fraud Damages Hit Record High

The amount of credit card fraud in 2011 totaled 54.09 billion yen, up 24% from 43.67 billion yen in 2010, making it the largest ever, according to the Japan Credit Association. The fraudulent use of stolen numbers accounts for 93% of all fraudulent credit card transactions, in which fraudsters steal important information such as card numbers, expiration dates, and security codes, and then use the cards by pretending to be the fraudulent cardholder.

To briefly touch on the two main methods of number theft, phishing and credit master are currently the two most common methods.

First, phishing involves sending fake emails or messages to users, claiming that there is a problem with payment or that the card is no longer valid, and directing them to a fake URL where they are asked to enter their credit card information to steal it.

In other words, although phishing is called number theft, users who are tricked into it leak their own credit card information. Therefore, it is possible to prevent theft by ignoring all suspicious emails and messages, and by avoiding going to fake sites.


What is “Credit Master,” a number theft that cannot be prevented?

However, credit masters cannot be prevented by users. Credit Master is a method of generating real card information, such as card number, expiration date, and security code, by combining a myriad of numbers based on the regularity of card numbers. This technique has been around for a long time, but as computer data processing has become faster, it has become easier to use automated software such as bots to do the job.

Bots, which automatically generate credit card numbers, enter the numbers into shopping sites at random and try to find the real card information. If a real card is found, a third party can use the number to make purchases. If this happens, even a card that has never been used can be used fraudulently. In fact, there have been reports of unused cards being used fraudulently.

Unfortunately, there are no effective preventive measures against this cardmaster. Almost the only thing that can be done is Check your credit card statement at least once a week. Check your card statement at least once a week to see if there is any unauthorized use.

If you contact your credit card company when you become aware of unauthorized use, you will be compensated for the full amount of the damage up to approximately 60 days before the date of contact, unless the use was intentional or due to gross negligence on the part of the user. The sooner you discover unauthorized use, the better. These days, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle, as it can be easily checked with a smartphone app.

“Credit master” refers to a form of number theft that cannot be prevented.

The spoofed banner ads type has been seen since the beginning of this year. As the name suggests, banner ads displayed on websites are the main entry point.

When viewing a website or smartphone application, banner advertisements frequently appear on the screen. In the case of normal banner ads, when clicked on, images or videos related to the product or service are played as advertisements.

However, in the case of spoof banner ads, users do not recognize them as banner ads. They assume it is part of the site. The reason for this is that the name of the product or service is not displayed at all, but instead only a large button for clicking with the words “Start,” “Continue,” or “Download.

The main characteristic of “spoof banner ads” is that they do not appear to be banner ads at first glance, but are spoofed as part of the site. The main feature of these spoof banner ads is that they do not appear to be banner ads at first glance, but rather are spoofed as part of the site.

In 2023, more than 90% of credit card fraud losses were caused by number theft (amounts in 100 million yen, rounded to the nearest 10 million yen).

If you let your guard down due to the phrase free registration and enter your card information.

When clicking on this spoof banner ad, the user is asked to create an account with an e-mail address and, eventually, to enter credit card information.

Even at that stage, the user assumes that the procedure is to use the Web site he/she has been shown. In places, they are followed by explanations such as “creating an account is free,” “you can register for free,” and “your registered credit card will not be charged.”

It is clearly stated that you will not be charged after registering your credit card information, but when you open the link to the Terms of Use, you are suddenly confronted with a lengthy English text. The “Terms and Conditions” states in English that “If you do not cancel during the 5-day free period, you will be billed a monthly fee of ●●●● yen “. By looking at this amount, most people know that they have fallen for a strange site.


Sites where free software can be downloaded are targeted

Many people may feel puzzled after hearing the explanation so far, wondering, “Why would anyone even register their card information?” There are several reasons for this.

“spoofed banner advertisements” appear on various websites, including free sites for videos, games, and business software operating sites. The common feature among them is the ability to download free software.

For example, if it appears on a site where online file storage is available, those who want to use it may click on it without much resistance. So much so that it is displayed in an exquisite position and well designed.

You might wonder, “Didn’t they notice something strange when entering their card information?” However, when people find themselves in a situation where they need to send a file within the next 30 minutes or must edit a PDF within an hour to meet a deadline, they prioritize downloading the software. Even if they find something a bit odd, the urgency of the situation may lead them to enter their card information without much thought.

After all, the site repeatedly claims that the service is free of charge. Some websites ask you to enter your credit card information under the guise of country of residence verification.



It’s Not a Scam! The Clever Mechanism of “Spoof Banner Ads”

There is an additional complication. Spoofed banner ads are a gray technique that is not 100% fraudulent. After all, the user clicked on the ad with his or her own will and entered his or her credit card information. On the surface, you agree to the contract.

The key point here is that it is possible to cancel the contract by taking the necessary procedures. In other words, the site is operated under the guise of an ordinary website, which is distinct from a scam (the contents of the site are often videos or game subscriptions).

In most cases, the contract is canceled when the cancellation procedure is firmly completed. It is a clever system that cannot be dismissed as 100% black. However, it is difficult to cancel the contract. First of all, the support screen to apply for cancellation is very difficult to understand. Second, even if you can reach the support screen, you are asked to send an email in English.

However, you should never leave it unattended. Even if you re-create the card, the billing may continue, and if you leave it alone, it may become more troublesome. We asked the credit card company directly, but they told us that it is next to impossible to get a refund because it is not completely fraudulent. They also said that the card must be re-created.

Using an English template for cancellation requests

So what do you do if you have fallen for a spoof banner ad? In fact, the Cross-border Consumer Center of the National Consumer Affairs Center provides specific examples of consultations.

The Cross-border Consumer Center is a consultation service for those who have encountered problems in transactions with overseas businesses. Among them, the case of consultation regarding overseas billing for apps that claim to be free is similar to spoofed banner ads. First, let’s take a look here to get an overview of the problem.

If you’ve already entered your card information, please refer to the page on “Troubles with registration and charges for overseas paid sites triggered by winning a smartphone, etc.” on the “Cross-border Consumer Center” website.

There, you’ll find a sample of an English text for requesting cancellation (Sample English Template for Cancellation Request to the Business Operator). As soon as possible, use that sample to draft an email for cancellation and send it to customer support.

Ideally, I’d want to display an actual “impersonation banner image” to provide a clear warning, but to stay within ethical bounds, it’s better to exercise self-restraint to avoid potential complaints such as “interference with business.”

If you’ve only clicked on the banner, closing the site should resolve the issue. Please remain calm and handle the situation accordingly. Above all, refrain from entering any card information.

Click here for the related page of the Cross-border Consumer Center of the National Consumer Affairs Center.

1_Consultation regarding overseas billing for apps that claim to be “free

2_[Trouble with registration and billing for overseas pay sites triggered by winning a smart phone, etc.

  • Interview and text by Kenji Matsuoka

    After working as a money writer, financial planner, and market analyst for a securities company, Kenji Matsuoka became independent in 1996. He writes articles on finance and asset management mainly for business and economic magazines. Author of "A Textbook for the First Year of Robo-Advisor Investing" and "Understanding with Rich Illustrations! The Book of Absolute Benefit from Cashless Payments".

Photo Gallery2 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles