Fraud is an intentional deception that’s designed to give the executor an unethical benefit at the expense of another individual or deny a victim their specific rights. One person or several people can execute a fraudulent activity; similarly, an entire company, business firm or institution could be involved in fraud. Usually, fraud includes the false representation of information by either intentionally providing inaccurate statements or withholding important facts.
In today’s world, we perform most of our tasks via the internet. From social media to shopping, streaming live tv and movies and even playing online casino games. As a result, we end up sharing a lot of our personal and financial information online, which opens us up to fraud risks if we are not careful enough. Some of the most notorious forms of fraud today include:
- Identity theft
- Fraud by scamming
- False insurance claims
- Investment scams such as pump and dump schemes
- Credit card fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Social Security/Medicare fraud.
How Notorious Fraudsters Perform Their Crimes
Before we jump into how fraud is detected, it is vital that you are aware of how some of the most notorious frauds are conducted. That way, on top of depending on financial institutions, security companies and affiliated businesses to be your gatekeepers, you can understand precisely what you must protect yourself against.
Here’s how some of the meanest fraudsters commit crimes:
- Identity Theft: It happens when someone uses another person’s information for their safety, gain or another benefit. An identity thief may, for instance, use a victim’s personal data for illegal purposes like opening credit accounts or even obtaining medical insurance and loans.
- Fraud by Scamming: Occurs when you have been deceived into transferring your money to another account. Once the money has left your account, the scammer will close that account, and you’ll never be able to get it back.
- Credit Card Fraud: This can happen in many ways. For example, a fraudster may steal or phish your card information online and start making unauthorized purchases. As a result, these expenditures will show up on your statement, yet you are not the one who made the purchase.
Fraud Detection Methods
Fraud detection is an integral part of any business. For example, if a customer uses a stolen credit card to buy something online and it is reported as fraud, the company will have to pay for the refund even though they haven’t made a sale with that customer. Fraud detection can help to prevent this by identifying and eliminating any suspicious activity at the first sign of fraud before the purchase goes through.
A variety of methods are used to detect fraud. These methods use information gathered from the company’s records and client profiles to identify suspicious activity patterns. Some methods are better than others depending on the type of business, level of risk and scope of
data under analysis. Here’s a highlight of how companies fight off fraudulent activity:
Signature-based fraud detection is a method that employs automated processes to detect a potentially compromised card by using the primary account number and the signatures, or lack of, present on the merchant receipt. Typically, the merchant will request that the cardholder use a pen to sign all four corners of the receipt when making a purchase. This is done primarily so that they can verify later on that they have made a sale of goods or services to said person.
If, however, a signature is recorded which is not consistent with previous signatures for that account number, it should indicate that an unauthorized party has used this card for payment. However, if you have ever had to deal with credit cards and signatures before, you know pretty well that this method does not always work as planned.
Anomaly-based fraud detection methods are based on statistical analysis (statistical anomaly detection) of data, time series or other sequential data sets. This type of analysis uses algorithms to identify irregular patterns or other anomalies in the data set, i.e., values reasonably far from most other values seen in the data set as a whole.
These algorithms monitor transactions on an account to determine whether the type of transactions performed are out of the ordinary for a particular customer or account. The program may also monitor the actual computers used to access bank accounts online to see if they have been compromised.
Credit card companies, for instance, employ various methods to detect fraud attempts through their networks. For example, a customer’s credit history may be accessed to see how the customer has used their cards before. The account itself may also be monitored by examining account transactions, customer requests, and other account activity.
This method employs automated techniques to detect potentially compromised cards by using transaction-specific information that can only be known by the cardholder, merchant, and financial institutions. This method is a more robust and more comprehensive method of ensuring that a card is valid than signature-based fraud detection. However, it requires that both the merchant and the financial institution’s computers are correctly set up to accept this level of authentication.
Again, while there are effective methods of fraud prevention, you yourself must be your first line of defence when it comes to protecting your personal and financial information. For instance, you must keep tabs on your expenditure and financial accounts to report any suspicious activity before any damage is done. And if you ever notice your credit card missing, don’t wait; block or cancel it right away to prevent any chance of fraud in your account.
At the same time, you should start using two-factor authentication to safeguard your online accounts and set a strong password that only you can remember. You must also use strong anti-virus software on your devices to ensure that malware isn’t remotely installed to phish your information. Introduce extra layers of security wherever you can to stay vigilant!