We live in a connected world where fraud is, unfortunately, ubiquitous. Criminals are constantly seeking opportunities to steal identities and payment credentials. New fraud statistics released by CIFAS, show that over 100,000 people are the victims of data-driven identity fraud every year, and this has been the case since 2010. This year will be no exception with 90,000 cases already identified. The report goes on to say that a shocking 45% of all frauds are identity crimes, so clearly this is an issue society needs to deal with.

It can be surprisingly easy to trick unsuspecting customers into revealing enough account and security information to provide access to their hard-earned cash, so it’s essential to remain vigilant in the face of potential identity crime. It’s not difficult to do this, and can be achieved by following a few simple rules:

  1. Take precautions. Use anti-malware software to protect the devices you use for online banking, and keep the software up to date. Adopt any security measures offered by your bank.
  2. Be vigilant. Be sceptical of calls or emails that come from an unknown or unexpected source, or present themselves in an odd format. You wouldn’t simply invite a stranger into your home, so retain this mentality when dealing with unknown entities in your virtual life. Avoid giving any personal or security details or clicking on suspicious attachments or links.
  3. Protect your credentials. The only person that should know all of your authentication and payment security details is you. If anyone asks for full credentials or passwords, for whatever reason, do not provide it. Even your bank will never ask you to state all of these details.
Brian Kinch, Senior Partner at FICO
Brian Kinch, Senior Partner at FICO

While educating banking customers about the dangers of fraud is essential, some have felt inhibited, concerned about the risks of scaring consumers away from new channels and technologies that might ultimately be in their best interests to use. Recent research, however, shows that actively engaged customers generated 23% more profitability than the average disengaged customer. So, communication around the risks associated with fraud must be carefully balanced to ensure customers remain confident in the overall benefits of the services and technologies they use.

With this in mind, an increasing number of organisations are focusing on the customer experience within the fraud cycle. In this, three elements are key: education, ease, and accessibility across multiple channels.  For example, giving customers the option to be informed immediately by text or phone call when suspicious activity is identified ensures the customer is in the know about what is happening with their accounts at all times and can help them feel empowered and in control.

The European card industry has been a leader in using chip and PIN technology to combat card fraud losses in areas such as counterfeit and lost and stolen cards. The US is (finally) catching up, recently announcing its own chip card issuance and acceptance. However, back in Europe, overall levels of card fraud are again on the rise. This seems like a contradiction.

It is clear that Europe has seen fraud attacks evolve and mutate rather than be eliminated altogether. Just like a snow plough on a snow-laden road, whilst the path immediately ahead is cleared, the displacement merely results in a greater build up in adjacent areas. Our fraud map commentary associates fraud migration to cross-border and remote (card-not-present) transactions. These are areas where chip and PIN defences do not extend, and therefore, they have become the chosen targets for the criminal fraternity.

The longer an area of exposure is left untreated, the greater the attraction to criminals, and the greater effort and emphasis they put upon it. Combine this with the fact that, as a society, we are now far more inclined to make “remote” purchases (such as online or via telephone), to spend with merchants overseas and to travel far more widely than ever before. Needless to say, fraudsters still have a rich seam of opportunity so banks and consumers both need to keep their guard up.

When looking at what the banks are doing to counter fraud, we notice that enterprise fraud management is a leading focus. Unfortunately, only a small number have been able to really crack it. We’ve worked with Garanti Bank in Turkey, for example, to prevent a cycle of fraud by centralising its fraud protection and case management across credit cards, debit cards and current/demand deposits accounts (DDA).  Garanti also uses FICO application fraud models to detect potential fraud in credit card and consumer loan applications.

This meant that at a time when card fraud attacks were doubling, Garanti’s anti-fraud team were able to increase the number of credit and debit fraud cases it was able to detect and, most impressively, protect multiple accounts for each individual, viewing them at a customer level rather than simply transaction or account level. This allows the bank to now respond faster to high-priority risks and to differentiate fraudulent and genuine transactions.

With the likes of the FICO® Adeptra® Mobile Services Platform, businesses can communicate with customers instantly using their preferred mobile channel to resolve such important matters as identifying whether a credit transaction is fraudulent, confirming a payment plan, and fixing customer service issues. Now is the time for businesses to make the investment in best-in-class fraud solutions and best-practice fraud strategies.

Brian Kinch, Senior Partner at FICO

Brian Kinch is a senior partner working with FICO’s global fraud clients. A seasoned fraud manager in the European banking industry, Brian was most recently head of customer account fraud at Lloyds Banking Group, where he initially designed and implemented the bank’s fraud management target operating model. Previously, he worked at Visa Europe’s risk management group with specific responsibilities for driving reductions in both issuing and acquiring fraud across the region. He also spent 15 years at HSBC Card Services.


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