New fraud figures provide food for training thought

So the latest fraud figures are out and they don’t make for pretty reading.

Over 236,500 frauds – the highest number of frauds ever recorded by its members – were identified during 2011 by CIFAS, the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service, an increase of 9% on 2010 levels.

Identity fraud has increased by 10% and now accounts for almost half of all fraud cases.

Meanwhile there has also been an 18% rise in ‘takeover fraud’, where a fraudster gains access and fraudulently uses a victim’s account such as a credit card, bank account or mobile phone. According to CIFAS, this type of fraud has rocketed by nearly 300 per cent in just five years. Yikes!

Rarely a month goes by when another industry body doesn’t release some sort of harrowing fraud data, whether it’s from the financial services, banking, insurance or mortgage sectors. The trends are the same throughout and the reasons for it well-versed….

“The rising cost in living”
“Frozen pay levels”
“VAT changes”
“Job cuts”
“Business closures”

But if we know all this, and we know it’s still increasing how do we stop it?

Well the sad truth is we probably can’t rely on Scooby Doo arriving to save the day. There are some very clever criminals out there utilising some extremely clever technology– crack one and they will have already come up with another.

This leaves probably every business’ biggest ally in tackling fraud – its frontline staff.

One of our clients, a leading mortgage network, has done great work in helping its staff nip attempted mortgage fraud in the bud after discovering items such as payslips, bank statements and utility bills are readily available on the internet for as little as £13! An absolute bargain to the determined fraudster.

So what are they doing about it? All their Network advisers are trained in fraud prevention, using Unicorn Training’s Fighting Fraud and Identity Crime courses, blended with face-to-face training around the issue of identity verification.

Meanwhile, last March, a potential fraud was prevented at Volkswagen Croydon when a staff member, who had previously passed Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) ‘Fraud Awareness and Prevention’ course, developed by Unicorn, spotted a fake driving licence and details were passed to the Association of Chief Police Officers Vehicle Crime intelligence Service (AVCIS).

Quality training cannot be underestimated in the fight against fraud.

Granted a high street bank cashier is not going to single-handedly bring down an entire criminal operation, but if their scepticism and suspicion can trigger alarm bells then that is one small step on the road to the war being won and maybe, as the benefits of investing in staff training take hold, next year we will be reading about how fraud figures have dipped in 2012?

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