Magazine article American Banker

Service Is Scanning Web for Master Card in Search of Pirates

Magazine article American Banker

Service Is Scanning Web for Master Card in Search of Pirates

Article excerpt

An Internet sleuth that has long helped MasterCard International Inc. protect its brand is now helping it fight online con artists.

Today the card company will announce that NameProtect Inc. is helping find fraudulent domain names and criminals discussing the sale of stolen card numbers on chat sites.

"Whatever we find we're going to take action against," said Sergio Pinon, the head of global security and risk services at MasterCard and a senior vice president.

The hope is to limit such threats as card fraud, identity theft, and "phishing," in which victims are lured to bogus Web sites and tricked into disclosing personal financial information.

Until recently MasterCard used NameProtect's VigilActive software only to spot improper commercial use of its brand.

VigilActive scans the Internet in search of client companies' names and brands on Web sites and in new domain name registrations.

The software could also monitor chat rooms and online newsgroup traffic. Now, for MasterCard, it is looking for chatter typical of the sale or auction of stolen account numbers.

When the software finds a suspect name it consults a "whitelist" of valid domain names. In MasterCard's case these include and, which the card association does not use but owns to prevent unauthorized use.

"When we see something that has 'MasterCard' in it that is not on a whitelist, then it's on a blacklist," said Mark McLane, the chief executive of NameProtect, which is based in of Madison, Wis.

MasterCard, of Purchase, N.Y., will refer domain names and conversations the software has flagged to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, and the Postal Inspection Service. It will also contact other agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission and Interpol, as well as any other financial institutions that may be targeted by a scam the software has identified. …

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