The amazing world of fraud-busting

According to the BBC financial fraud losses totalled £755m last year in the UK. Worldwide that figure runs into the billions. ID fraud is now big business for scammers that are preying on us both on and offline. Another burgeoning industry is fraud prevention. However, whilst we want to keep ourselves safe from fraudsters we don’t want to spend ages answering secret security questions, keying in passcodes and typically failing to remember ID numbers and passwords. Consequently, the race is on to find easy and convenient ways for consumers to verify who they say they are.

HSBC for example is experimenting with voice biometrics which uses unique vocal patterns as a means of identification. New kid on the block, Atom Bank meanwhile is trialling authentication by selfie – consumers taking photos of themselves at time of purchase. Nationwide meanwhile is working on behavioural biometrics which is based on the idea that the way we interact with our devices is as unique an identifier as our fingerprints or irises. The way we touch, swipe and hold our phones or tablets can apparently act as a signature.

Call centres are also investing in ways to catch fraudulent calls, automated technology is now able to analyse the elements of a phone call such as the location, the device type, the timbre of sound, vocabulary and behaviour of the caller. Each of these and numerous other metrics are converted into a score which diagnoses the likelihood of the person on the other end of the phone being genuine.

All of these developments will be incredibly welcome if they can reduce the amount of money defrauded each year. However, there are also some less high tech ways to identify fraudsters. For example Halo, our fraud product which helps organisations protect themselves against deceased fraud – which is one of the UK’s fastest growing crimes. Earlier this year we interviewed a panel of ex-offenders who said that stealing the identity of deceased people was one of the quickest and easiest ways to generate cash. Halo identifies fraud at the application stage by flagging up applications for credit or goods that are being made in the name of someone that is registered as deceased. This simple fraud check is helping save consumers and businesses significant amounts.