- FI's anticipated a wave of fraud ahead as the pandemic unfolded
- Government stimulus like PPP may have created "good client gone bad" scenarios
- Is scaling back an option? Not if FI's want to combat fraud and improve client experience
As 2021 gets underway -- already fairly eventfully -- Trace Fooshee of Aite Group talks to BankInfo Security's Nick Holland about what fraud trends they foresee in the coming year.
via Bank Info Security
Mr. Fooshee notes that, early in the pandemic, FI consensus was to gird themselves for a significant rise in across-the-board fraud activity. However, the industry was somewhat surprised to see that conventional fraud -- debit fraud, check fraud, etc. -- did not spike all at once. However, as noted in our Exploration of Check Fraud in 2020 report, industry respondents reported a definite uptick in check fraud.
Mr. Fooshee notes an increase in certain kinds of identity fraud, application fraud, credit card bust-outs, and "mule" activity. So, while fraud did increase in 2020, there was an uneven distribution. And, from an anecdotal standpoint, financial institutions who invested in fraud protection enhancement did tend to fare better defending against the threats.
It's interesting to note that deposit fraud and credit card bust outs -- types of first-party fraud -- came up a lot and seem to swell during economic downturns like the one that accompanied COVID restrictions. This, unfortunately, increases instances of "good client gone bad" scenarios where longtime and otherwise straight-shooting account holders go rogue.
The Government PPP Loan Program, which is back online as of this week, provoked increases in mule activity with the express purpose of capturing government stimulus funds. There is no reason to think, Mr. Fooshee notes, that this will not continue with the new PPP rollout.
So, what should FI's focus on, budget-wise? Is it time to scale back? On the contrary, Mr. Fooshee says. The guiding principles for 2020 will remain sound in 2021: Look for investments with multiple impacts that include constraining fraud losses, improving client security, and improving the client experience.
This is sound advice from Mr. Fooshee and aligned with the earlier mentioned note that those who invested in fraud protection enhancements did tend to fare better defending against the threats. Check fraudsters stick what they know best, continuing to utilize schemes with slight variations including check washing, Craigslist scams, brand impersonations, etc. It is incumbent upon banks and financial institutions to invest in innovative technologies like AI and deep learning to increase their ability to detect fraudulent checks and protect their customers base.