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How the Canadians are beating back fraud: An American’s take

How the Canadians are beating back fraud: An American’s take

Greetings, Canadians from your friends down south. While I am an American by passport, I am longing to be a Canadian in spirit, finding things like Poutine, Hockey and Cream Ale far better beyond the border. 

Perhaps after this election cycle, I might find myself enjoying them more frequently.  While this is all tongue in cheek, and illustrates that we may have more in common than we let on, there are some things that I think Canadians are doing better than their counterparts, including the USA, and one such thing is Fraud Management.  

Let’s count the ways: 

Interac, the Canadian Debit Card network, recently published a report that suggested that their losses are down to a six-year low, below my own internal benchmarked global average. Further, when measured inside Canada, the fraud rate on debit cards is far below the global average for mature EMV (Chip Card) issuing countries. 

This is mostly due to efforts by Interac to educate and migrate (to EMV terminals) as well as offer fraud mitigation services and tools. They are creating a culture of security and reliability that is unparalleled in the Americas and perhaps globally. This is no small feat for a developed country, and their record low debit fraud losses are the evidence for this achievement.   

In the USA, we share an International Fraud Awareness Week with the rest of the globe. In Canada there is a whole month devoted to getting the word out. 125 private sector firms that are members in the forum distribute a wealth of knowledge and best practices to consumers and businesses. 

This vehicle is driven by the Canadian Competition Bureau, a federal law enforcement agency with oversight into consumer protection and compliance with anti-trust requirements. 

It trended for me on twitter, https://twitter.com/hashtag/FPM2016#FPM2016… yep, it’s a thing, and the banks get in on it, and so does law enforcement, and private industry, the central bank, and… you get it, it’s real and it’s actionable and it works. 

Canada has an “Anti-Fraud Centre” (see what I did there?), a resource for consumers, functioning as a call center and centralized data repository to protect the population from scams, identity theft and other deceptive practices. 

These and other similar groups are available to educate citizens in ways that the frauders are active, and protect the population from potential exposure as a public service. 

Campaigns are deployed against the fraud that is typically found in Canada, among various Social Engineering schemes: Romance scams, “401” or advance-fees scams, money mules/work from home scams, re-shipping among other approaches that are used to fleece unsuspecting victims. 

It occurs to me that this culture of sharing the counter-intelligence, of proactively deploying the right hard and soft controls in the relevant spaces, has manifested greater security in the land of the maple leaf. 

This model of encouraging education and finding ways to disseminate knowledge, of aggregating intelligence and collaborating as a greater community to share strategies and effective tactics, has resulted in success. This is a model of greatness, where convenience and security share the stage and there is a reset of consumer behavior to increase the well-being of everyone in the financial community.  

Last point… There are a few thought models of fraud management that I encounter;  

  1. That if an entity can resolve its fraud problems better than its peers, it has a competitive advantage. 
  2. That if an entity can empower everyone in its sphere of influence to reduce the collective fraud problems, all stakeholders benefit. 

Said another way, I think the Canadian model is the following: Is it better to reduce our slice of the fraud pie, or can we make the whole pie smaller, and then starve the fraudsters out? I love that idea, that we can evangelize this culture in a global community of fraud fighters, and that’s why I continue to find it so warm in the great white north! #FPM2016!  

And speaking of Canada, I’ll be presenting on this topic at the Interac Risk and Cybercrime Conference 2016 in Vancouver…hope to see you in April.