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Fraud pandemic

Coronavirus is not the only pandemic in 2020, it’s suggested. Another, costly in terms of finance, is fraud. According to the US-based Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), most, 77pc of members surveyed reported that fraud was increasing amid Covid-19 disruption, and one-third of them describing it as significant – and near all, 92pc, expect it to climb further.

Alex Boothroyd, Senior Banking Fraud Solutions Specialist at the data analytics product firm SAS UK & Ireland said: “Criminals are capitalising on the pandemic’s drive to digital interactions, using it as an opportunity to commit fraud. Ensuring fraud prevention and detection systems reflect the changing behaviours ushered in by the pandemic is crucial, particularly for those leaders working in industries most at risk of fraud, such as healthcare, financial services and government.”

SAS has developed ViViAN, short for Virtual Victim Assistance Network, with the ITRC (Identity Theft Resource Center, a US-based non-profit body). Now in beta testing for an early 2021 launch, ViViAN is intended to be a clients’ first line of communication with the ITRC. The Center last month reported that mass data breaches of personal information continue to decline while cyber-attacks are up; as threat actors focus on ransomware, phishing, and brute force attacks that use already available identity information to steal company funds and Covid-19-related government benefits.

Next week is International Fraud Awareness Week, run by ACFE. Visit https://www.fraudweek.com/. The anti-corruption pressure group Transparency International recently repeated the point that foreign bribery was considered just another cost of doing business. It was barely investigated, to the detriment of the citizens of the affected countries. “Sadly, ordinary people still suffer the biggest consequences. Money lost to foreign bribery wastes millions of dollars that would otherwise go towards essential, and often lifesaving services, like health care and education.”

For background visit the ACFE website to download, Fraud in the Wake of COVID-19: Benchmarking Report. And you can register on the SAS website for a white paper on digital fraud. See also on the SAS blog page, a blog by Jen Dunham, ‘Fighting bribery and corruption with supplier integrity’.

More in the December 2020, and January 2021 print editions of Professional Security magazine.


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