Fraud Prevention

Financial Crime-Fighters Turning The Tide Of COVID-Era Fraud

fraud prevention

Isn’t it just like a crook to exploit a bad situation? COVID-19 is an ideal example, as cold-hearted fraudsters are siphoning off funds designated for legitimate people and businesses.

PYMNTS' September Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook, done in collaboration with NICE Actimize, analyzes the pandemic-era fraud landscape and identifies its many pitfalls.

“The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found 184,000 instances of pandemic-related fraud had occurred in the United States since the end of August, resulting in the theft of more than $124 million,” per the new Playbook. “Fraudsters perpetrating such schemes often target individuals by phone, posing as bank officials, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents or public health administrators and asking for personal information or money in exchange for COVID-19 test kits, stimulus checks or work-from-home jobs. This fraud targets all demographics and generations, with U.S. consumers ages 30 to 39 reporting the most incidents but Americans aged 50 to 59 reporting the greatest losses.”

Financial crime-fighters simply won’t suffer this state of affairs. Innovative players are bringing powerful new capabilities to bear in the war on especially repugnant COVID-era fraud.

A Risk-Based Approach To Detecting And Stopping Attacks

Societal disruption is always a signal to criminals of new theft opportunities aborning, and the pandemic may be the moneymaking chance of a lifetime among dark web denizens.

As the new Tracker notes, “The pandemic is prompting fraudsters to exploit the economic insecurity gripping much of the world. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) recently issued a warning that fraudsters are leveraging various illicit methods, including malware, phishing schemes, extortion and business email compromise (BEC) scams, all with a COVID-19 twist. Some are posing as government officials and asking for personal information for stimulus checks, for example, while others are targeting cryptocurrencies.”

Strong consumer authentication comes in several forms, and it’s time to pick one.

“A strong, risk-based authentication engine assesses the risk of login and authentication for every monetary and non-monetary transaction, applying stronger authentication for riskier users,” Yuval Marco, general manager of fraud and authentication at NICE Actimize, told PYMNTS. “This risk-based approach is key to detecting and stopping ATO attacks as well as preventing fraudsters from altering accounts to extend takeover while providing good [customer experiences] for [genuine] clients.”

A Marriage Of Advanced Tech With Due Diligence

Identity authentication powered by artificial intelligence (AI) has slowed the malignant growth of certain types of cyber fraud, clearing a path forward for more secure online transactions.

“[Financial services organizations] can profile customers in real time using historic transactions, geolocation, device, IP history, behavioral biometrics, authentication patterns and more to avoid relying on [personally identifiable information],” Marco said.

As the latest Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook states, “Curbing identity fraud’s rise will require the marriage of advanced technologies with due diligence from customers. It may never be stopped entirely, but even stalling it could save millions of dollars and untold hours.”

NICE Actimize’s Marco adds, “Fraudsters may use stolen data to take over accounts, but they can’t successfully mimic customer behavior in a sustained way. Using machine learning and AI, a real-time detection engine will spot behavior anomalies — [enabling financial services organizations] to stop attacks.”



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