Groupon frauds blamed on third-party password breaches

Been re-using passwords again, bud123?

Groupon has blamed fraudulent purchases from some UK customers' accounts on password leaks from other sites.

UK consumer website MoneySavingExpert reports that “a number of Groupon users have seen £100s siphoned from their banks in recent weeks after fraudsters commandeered their accounts to make unauthorised purchases.” The first sign of fraud cropped up earlier this month, with Groupon account-holders receiving confirmation emails for products they hadn't purchased. Groupon’s customer service has been criticised as taking up to 10 days to respond to subsequent complaints of fraud.

In a statement, Groupon played down the scale of the fraud and blamed problems of password reuse by its customers rather than any hack on its systems.

There has been no security breach or ‘hack’. What we are seeing however is a very small number of customers who have had their account taken over by fraudsters. Nothing out of the ordinary for an e-commerce site.

Typically, we see this kind of activity when customers use the same password across multiple online sites. When one of the other sites is compromised, fraudsters attempt to use those credentials in other places.

If customers believe they've been the victim of fraud, they need only to contact us, and we'll lock the account so no other pernicious activity can take place and refund any unauthorised purchases.

Fraudsters appear to have gained access to Groupon accounts after accessing log-in and password information leaked followed the compromise of third-party websites. Password reuse by victims has enabled cybercrooks to mount successful credential stuffing attacks. Attacks of this type have affected the UK National Lottery and online takeaway firm Deliveroo over recent weeks.

Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of web security firm High-Tech Bridge, commented: "Chained attacks, using compromised passwords and personal data from previous breaches, will continue growing in the future. Many people use the same password or secret question on all their accounts, and once a single account is hacked, others can be easily compromised in a domino effect.

“Moreover, even if users have different passwords, they frequently use similar ones, making them easily guessable,” he added.

More background on the run of frauds against UK Groupon users can be found in a story by the Mail Online here. ®

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