Fraud Risk Management Practices

According to a report by ACFE, organizations lose about 5% of their annual revenue to fraud annually. This is because businesses don’t focus much on common fraud risk management practices. This leads to companies not being able to protect themselves against fraud, and meet bottom-line compliance requirements.

As more and more financial institutions are required to bear the burden of compliance, they need to know the appropriate methods of risk management.

These risk management frameworks help businesses to identify and respond to fraud. Being able to assess risk early on helps them protect organizations against common fraud types. Businesses can implement fraud risk management practices and gain an advantage over their competition.

Benefits of Fraud Risk Management Practices

Financial institutions that implement basic and advanced fraud risk management practices tend to reap additional benefits.

The most common benefits include the following:

  • Reduced financial losses due to fraud. 
  • Reduced costs of responding to fraud.
  • Better compliance with local and global regulatory requirements.
  • Enhanced employee awareness of employees against fraud throughout the organization.
  • Increased reporting of potential fraud and other ethical issues. 
  • Enhanced level of corporate governance.

Best Practices for Fraud Risk Management

Organizations don’t need over-the-top processes that add friction instead of reducing it. To reduce fraud, businesses need to reinforce their current models. This can be done using best practices for fraud risk management:

1. Invest in Ideal Technology

The right type of technology can make or break everything. Integrating technologies that help prevent fraud such as online document verification, proof of address verification software, bank verification software, etc.

Technologies like these can help organizations streamline the compliance process. Financial institutions can also verify which customers are real, and which are not.

Being able to clearly see through fraudulent practices is what businesses can do to reduce financial losses through fraud.

2. Build a Risk Insight Culture

Businesses can get instant benefits from risk insights. Risk insights can also improve the management decision-making process. Although, in order to maximize the long-term benefits, businesses need to take a systematic approach. Employees should know about risk awareness and should ensure continuous compliance in the financial process.

3. Understand Your Compliance Capabilities

Strong compliance provides benefits that are hard to measure. Business leaders need to identify their company alongside the level of their compliance capabilities. Knowing the journey helps organizations understand which approach they should take to improve compliance capabilities. 

4. Find Flexible Solutions

The fraud number keeps on increasing on existing channels and new channels. Finance leaders need to strengthen their ability to detect fraud and analytical capabilities.

Financial institutions need to leverage existing data to be able to improve fraud risk management capabilities. Fraud is getting complicated, thus making it vital for businesses to come up with flexible fraud risk management solutions. 

5. Consolidate All Data Sources into a Single Platform

There are thousands of fraud risk detection solutions available in the market. Businesses need to make sure that data captured from all these technologies are kept on a single platform. Consolidated data makes analysis and decision-making easier. 

This also avoids the creation of unnecessary data silos, which leads to instances of fraud.

6. Have an Omnichannel View of Fraud Detection

Organizations need to consider all digital channels if they want to manage risk effectively. An omnichannel approach to fraud risk management can minimizes the risk of a fraudster migrating to another channel after losing access to the first one. 

To be able to do this, businesses need to develop a single central platform to ensure data points and behavioral patterns can be accessed through all channels. 

7. Evaluate Risk Throughout the Customer Journey

The level of risk associated with a transaction should be assessed and handled before the customer reaches the final step of the payment. Risk management leaders must build fraud risk management systems that can assess risk from the beginning of a customer journey. 

This includes analyzing customer behavior, analyzing the use of bots, and scripts, monitoring account login/creation, and defining the risk of the action. They also need to implement ideal obstacles along the journey.

8. Build a Seamless Customer Experience

The risk management approach is different for each organization. No two organizations can follow the same steps and get the same results. A new approach is needed that can integrate fraud detection and customer verification technologies.

The goal of the process should be to eliminate fraud while trying to keep the customer onboarding experience as seamless as possible.

Risk management leaders should focus on streamlining the customer experience, and implementing frictionless customer verification processes.

9. Reduce the Cost of Fraud

When businesses focus on reducing the total cost of fraud instead of the rate of fraud, they are able to come up with better strategies. With this goal in mind, organizations can make informed decisions about how much they need to invest in fraud detection and prevention.


How to Prevent Account Takeover Fraud?

Account takeover fraud (ATO) happens when an unauthorized person takes over a normal user bank account. Fraudsters take every measure to try and control an account. Once they have an account under control, fraudsters apply for a new card or change basic account information. In this guide, we’ll be talking about account takeover fraud, and how big of a threat it is for financial service providers.

Most of the time, individuals are the victims of account takeover fraud. Sometimes, fraudsters take over the business and small business accounts as well. Compared to 2019, 2021 saw a 21% increase in account takeover fraud. Out of all types of fraud, three-quarters of cases are account takeover fraud.

Old and New Ways of Account Takeover Fraud

Account takeover fraud is one of the oldest types of fraud. In the past, criminals relied more on manual ways to collect enough knowledge about a victim to access the account and eventually take control. 

They could access this information by going through people’s trash, stealing mail, and bribing or blackmailing. In today’s time, the way of accessing information has changed completely. Cybercrime has become the primary method of acquiring information for account takeover fraud.

Moreover, fraudsters can buy information for dirt cheap from the dark web to allow them to take over financial accounts. 

The dark web has multiple marketplaces that specialize in selling personally identifiable information (names, account numbers, addresses, social security numbers, national IDs, and more). 

As most people reuse their passwords for multiple accounts, it makes it easier for fraudsters to take over multiple accounts at once. 

When fraudsters have access to this much data with ease, they test it out. There are both old-school, and new-age methods to try these techniques. They can use automated tools to mount mass attempts to access these accounts with credentials stuffing. 

There are other ways. According to reports, around 44% of account takeover fraud instances happen using telephone channels. This suggests that call centers are the weak link in the process.

What Do Fraudsters Do With Taken-Over Accounts?

There are multiple parties involved when it comes to fraud. The criminals that commit data breaches to access accounts, are not the same criminals to use the data to determine if it’s usable. When accounts are found that are vulnerable, they’re sold to other fraudsters that actually take over the account. 

When an account is taken over, some fraudsters just want to make quick money. They simply transfer the available amount to some other account. Some fraudsters use these accounts to use them for money laundering.

Other fraudsters play the longer game, they use the account to get as much monetary gain as possible. This is done in several steps:

  • Fraudsters gain long-term control of the account. They change core account information such as an address, mobile number, and date of birth. 
  • Fraudsters issue a new card for the account with the new details (new address, new mobile number, etc).
  • They keep using the account to maximize the funds available.  They increase credit card limits or use the account as a gateway to getting more funds, such as a loan. Once a fraudster has maximized the amount they can obtain before the risk to them becomes too high, they cash out of the account under their control. 

When this happens, it’s extremely difficult for the financial institutions to find the legitimate account holder from the fraudster, or which activity was done by whom.

How do Financial Institutions Handle Account Takeover Fraud?

To stop account takeover fraud from happening, financial institutions need to both prevent it and also detect suspicious activity so they can intervene. This can be done by employing multiple techniques:

1. Strong Customer Authentication

ID authentication is a major part of the account protection process. Several banks and financial institutions pay huge attention to the ID verification process. In the EU, PSD2 regulation is used more for checking a customer’s identity when they make a payment. That’s now all, PSD2 also includes authentication of account holders when they access or use payment accounts.

Any activity on a payment account that increases fraud risk requires strong customer authentication. Financial institutions have multiple methods to verify if the account holder is a legitimate user or not.

To meet the requirement of PSD2, financial institutions have to cover 2-3 categories:

  • Knowledge authentication – Something only the user knows (password, PIN, etc).
  • Possession – Something only the user possesses, such as a token, mobile, card, etc.
  • Inherence – Something that the user himself is (fingerprint, facial recognition, etc).

2. Customer Communications for Confirmation

Once a fraudster has access to an account, it’s not all over. The more details the fraudster may change on the account, the more control they have, but before they make changes the bank has the contact information for the real account holder. 

As well as authenticating customers wanting to make changes. To prevent account takeover fraud, banks can use real-time automated, and two-way communications with their customers to confirm, such actions are needed.

For example, if a change of address is needed, then a text message can be sent to the mobile phone number on record to confirm if this action is legitimate. 

3. Understanding Criminal Networks

Organized crime usually happens on a larger scale. Fraudsters try to take over as many accounts as they can. While this is a threat to financial institutions that have bad defenses, it can also be an opportunity to identify accounts that have been taken over. 

With application fraud, criminals have limited contact information that they can use to manage accounts. They recycle mobile numbers, emails, and addresses using the same contact information for multiple accounts.


Using AI for Fraud Detection in Banking

In 2022 and after, more than 50% of all financial institutions plan to use AI to detect and prevent fraud. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) to detect and prevent fraud is not new. But, the fight has just gotten tougher as fraudsters have derived new methods to combat AI methods.

Especially after the Covid-19 pandemic fraud has become more sophisticated. So it makes sense that financial institutions would want effective AI solutions to detect and prevent fraud.

According to some data, the demand for AI seems more simple than ever:

  • More than 50% of financial institutions’ respondents plan to roll out AI solutions to tackle new cases of fraud.
  • Almost a third of financial institutions plan to invest in newer AI technologies to prevent fraud.

Banking institutions are aware of the downsides of not investing in AI capabilities. Fraud numbers hit an all-time high in 2020, and manual verification methods aren’t enough to combat new types of fraud.

Trying to uncover new types of fraud without using some AI is a heavy burden for analysts. Not just that, but human errors and rule-specific approaches can lead to a higher number of false positives. This leads to a negative impact on the customer journey.

Machine Learning in Banking Fraud Detection

Artificial technologies run on machine learning technologies. Machine learning algorithms are incredibly effective against fraud.

When implemented successfully, machine learning helps in detecting fraud, and uncovering complex financial crimes. They protect businesses from fraud losses and let businesses provide a frictionless experience to legit customers.

If you’re wondering how machine learning algorithms detect fraud, you’re not alone. Machine learning is a teachable system that can automate both front and back-office processes.

Instead of OS, or unchanging protocols, AI can learn from its experiences and evolve according to the situation. Machine learning systems also consider past transactions and also apply these rules to future transactions. 

The more data these systems go through, the more efficient they become in uncovering fraud. AI systems become familiar with techniques used by fraudsters to crack FIs systems. 

Investing in AI software, and machine learning technologies can be a great option for fraud detection and prevention.

Predictive Analysis for Banking Fraud Detection

Before machine learning technologies, there were predictive analysis technologies. While machine learning solutions are more flexible, and have more freedom, predictive analysis still has a firm place in the industry.

Unlike machine learning technologies, in which algorithms are asked to process supplied data without rules and regulations, predictive analysis finds patterns and behaviors. 

This is helpful when it comes to going through large sets of data to predict behaviors. Any activity outside of the predictive behaviors is likely to be considered a red flag. The predictive analysis relies on analyzing behaviors in the past and then converting them into fraud prevention methods today.

Next Steps in Automating Fraud Detecting

Automating fraud detection and prevention is a major challenge. With the focus on including AI in the financial industry, fraud prevention can be increased. Instead of using historical data, predictive analysis prevents fraud from happening.

While AI is not a sure-shot method of fraud prevention, when combined with instant document verification, human elements, it can lead to complete fraud detection. Over time, the inclusion of AI in the financial industry has become a vital part of the strategy.


Importance of ID Verification for Buy Now Pay Later Providers

The Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) sector has seen tremendous growth in the last couple of years. Especially because it is giving customers an option to pay for things later that they buy right now. But the service providers and the sector itself have faced some criticism from consumer interest groups and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

There are huge concerns that consumers could build up large debts by spending more than they can afford to pay back. There’s also a worry that fraudsters could target companies that offer these services to do some fraud.

With the help of stolen identity data, fraudsters can open up accounts and make purchases with no intention of paying back. Moreover, if an organization doesn’t have enough security measures in place, fraudsters can easily rack up huge debts.

With ID theft cases on the rise, customers who have done no harm may be liable to pay amounts that they haven’t used. Having a dark spot on their resume also impacts a user’s ability to secure a loan or mortgage in the future. Even if their identities were stolen, they didn’t go into debt themselves.

FCA’s Review of the BNPL Industry

With this growing concern, FCA evaluated the unsecured credit market in 2022 and is now coming up with regulations that will protect customers and businesses from fraud. 

Unregulated providers will have to comply with regulations set by FCA to continue working. For Buy Now Pay Later startups, protecting themselves and their customers is now one of the biggest concerns. 

That’s not the only thing that BNPL providers have to protect, they also have to protect their reputation. In a new and growing sector, winning the trust of customers is crucial for growth.

To minimize the risk of ID fraud, many companies have to review their operations and make changes to comply with the strict requirements of AML and KYC. This will also mean making greater use of ID verification services. Businesses also need to carry out sophisticated checks every time a user chooses to use the services.

ID verification checks also help Buy Now Pay Later companies to successfully verify customers who may be spending more than they should or customers who may have trouble paying back.

BNPL companies should also look forward to protecting customers, verifying affordability, and other factors.

What BNPL Companies Need to Know About ID Verification?

BNPL companies can use ID verification services to check if their customers are who they claim to be. Know your customer checks have to validate a customer’s personal information.

While onboarding a new customer, BNPL companies should conduct KYC checks. The same level of due diligence must be applied when a customer is making a high-value purchase or making changes in their delivery address. 

In these cases, a customer may be asked to provide valid ID proof or to enter a unique code sent to the customer’s email ID. 

Why Identity Verification for BNPL Services is Important?

ID fraud makes up around 61% of all fraud cases reported to the UK’s National Fraud Database. ID fraud cases have grown by 32% in the last 5 years. Online banks and sellers are common targets for fraudsters. BNPL companies are also increasingly being targeted by fraudsters.

Common attacks include phishing attacks to obtain users’ log-in details, creating new accounts with stolen payment cards, and account takeover fraud.

This in turn destroys trust in Buy Now Pay Later companies and hurts the growth of the industry. To be able to establish trust in the industry, businesses need to verify ID verification services.