Friday, May 1, 2009
I have recently blogged that Robert Wardle, former director of the Serious Fraud Office, has been calling for businesses to cooperate and report fraud; I believe this is most definitely the way the industry needs to move. Opening up this knowledge to the public allows three things to happen: public scrutiny, public pressure and cross-corporation sharing.
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly in financially unsound times such as these, when information about fraud is made public, it allows the consumer to make better judgements about the soundness of their investment or where they choose to do business. When it comes to consumer focused fraud attacks, such as skimming, phishing and all the other buzzwords, the more the public know and understand, the better prepared they will be to identify threats and avoid being victims themselves.
Secondly, once members of the public are able to see the true scope of fraud, and how it changes, they will be better armed to put pressure on the law makers and government officials who are responsible for penalties and regulations regarding financial crime. Unfortunately, in most countries, since financial crime is considered "non-violent", the sentencing and penalties associated with it can be quite mild.
Finally, and probably most important in terms of advancing the fight against fraud and financial crime, is cross-corporation sharing. Once the public are made aware of frauds and financial crime, it removes one of the major barriers corporations, such as financial institutions, have to sharing information amongst themselves. Fraudsters tend to operate like electricity: they take the path of least resistance. Only when a decent amount of information sharing is in place, can the second group of targets take steps to prevent it. This can dramatically reduce losses and the effects of a fraud attack and it can only be made possible if information sharing is promoted and requested by the public and the regulatory barriers are lowered.
To sum things up, I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Wardle's recent requests for businesses to become transparent with their fraud reporting. It is time the public were given the information they deserve to make decisions about their money.
Fraud & Risk Solutions Consultant