Atlanta, GA

The Atlanta Fed partners with GSU to tackle online financial fraud

Sophie-Ann McCulloch

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ATLANTA, GA — The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta partners with Georgia State University’s Evidence-Based Cybersecurity Research Group or EBCS to form a three-year alliance to address online payments-related financial fraud.

The EBCS will investigate the darknet and encrypted web channels to comprehend how online payments-related criminal activity impacts the payments landscape and promote safer, more-efficient payment solutions and methods.

The EBCS Director David Maimon stated that they expect this partnership to have a huge impact on the safety of online banking as their research will help identify issues regarding online payments and fraud. He also added, “It speaks volumes that the Federal Reserve has turned to the cutting-edge research we conduct in the Evidence-Based Cybersecurity Research Center to help guide policy regarding online fraud prevention and mitigation in the financial industry.”

New payment innovations, such as digital wallets, mobile payments and person-to-person payment apps, are effective and convenient, but they also expose users to new types of fraud. Anyone who has ill intentions can steal identity components—such as Social Security numbers, addresses, authentication credentials and account details—then sell them through markets organized on encrypted web channels. Their actions can create far-reaching harm across the financial system and broader economy.

To solve this issue, EBCS uses behavioral science and innovations like machine learning to research, document and minimize cyber harm. Together, the Federal Reserve payments experts, EBCS researchers and Georgia State Ph.D. students will monitor online criminal markets for payments-related activity to document trends, identify new types of fraud and support a better understanding of crimes surrounding new payment types.

The alliance will try to identify the impacts of the introduction of digital assets like central bank digital currencies on online criminal markets in other countries.

Cheryl Venable, the chief of payments operations for Federal Reserve Financial Services said, “This partnership with Georgia State University will help the Atlanta Fed and the entire payments industry understand fraud from a different perspective and lead to better solutions and operational practices around payments innovation.” She then added that the effort will capitalize on, as well as advance, the Atlanta Fed’s expertise as a payment network operator, supervisor and researcher.

Further information about the partnership as well as future updates can be found on the Promoting Safer Payments Innovations section of the Atlanta Fed website at https://www.atlantafed.org/promoting-safer-payments-innovation.aspx.

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