MasterCard and NameProtect announced a partnership in which NameProtect will provide its services to MasterCard to help stop phishing scams and illegal credit card use.

NameProtect bills itself as a digital asset protection company that specializes in providing market intelligence to corporations. The company monitors the Internet to find instances of piracy, fraud, identity theft, trademark infringement, and numerous other services.

In its new partnership with MasterCard, NameProtect will monitor the Internet, including Web sites, discussion groups, and spam email, which is often used for phishing scams. The company will look for groups that trade illegal credit card numbers and people who spoof MasterCard's logo. The company will notify MasterCard when it detects suspicious or illegal activity; MasterCard can then take  appropriate action, such as notifying law enforcement agencies.

Sergio Piñòn, senior vice president, MasterCard Global Security & Risk Services, said, “We are confronting identity theft head-on by taking the fight directly to where payment card scams breed and spread. By identifying these illegal card number-swapping rings and working to close down these online 'payment card black markets,' as well as sites that are established solely to steal personal information, we can squash illegal activity before people's accounts are compromised.”

The Anti-Phishing Working Group (of which both MasterCard and NameProtect are members), tracked a total of 1197 unique phishing attempts in May 2004; 307 of those attempts were targeted at CitiBank. Other recent targets of phishing attacks include US Bank, Barclays, eBay, and PayPal (owned by eBay).

You can learn more about the most recent phishing scams at Anti-Phishing Working Group's Web site.