Awareness, training and anti-fraud data analysis are a fraud-fighting trifecta, advise the ACFE and SAS


Fraud Week targets pandemic-fueled schemes and scams.

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How much does fraud cost businesses and individuals each year? A 2019 study by consultancy Crowe put the annual global figure at more than $5 trillion – and that was before COVID-19’s upheaval created a perfect climate for fraud. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), more than half (51%) of organizations have faced rising fraud since the pandemic’s onset, while nearly three-quarters (71%) anticipate further increases.

Analytics and AI leader SAS again allies with the ACFE for International Fraud Awareness Week, Nov. 14-20, spotlighting the social and financial harms of this global scourge, and how leading fraud analytics can help businesses turn the tide.

“Beyond raising awareness and training employees, data analysis and emerging technology adoption are the most effective ways governments and businesses can proactively detect and prevent fraud,” said ACFE President and CEO Bruce Dorris. “As we observe Fraud Week, support from advocates like SAS highlights the critical need for organizations to leverage anti-fraud technology to protect themselves and the public.”

Banking on AI and machine learning to curb fraud

In the fraud realm, there’s no bigger target than the banking sector, hemorrhaging billions in fraud losses each year.

A recent study by TransUnion revealed a 149% spike in digital fraud attempts against financial services worldwide in the early months of 2021 – no doubt fed by the pandemic’s digital banking boom. Forward-thinking banking leaders have already armed their organizations with advanced analytics from SAS, the leader in analytics.

OCBC Bank recently became the first Singaporean bank to deploy AI and machine learning to combat fraud. Its SAS-powered Fraud Surveillance System led the financial institution to recover SG$8 million (nearly US$6 million) in fraudulent transactions in Singapore alone in its first year. OCBC has since extended its real-time surveillance coverage to international branches in Hong Kong and will add branches in Southeast Asia, including Thailand and Vietnam, in late 2021.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has also embraced SAS’ AI and machine learning capabilities, deploying SAS Fraud Management on Microsoft Azure as part of its cloud-first strategy. Deployed in just six months, the solution enables ADIB to detect, mitigate and even predict fraud in real time, delivering rapid value.

“ADIB operates in a risk-heavy environment, and our threat-management solution needs to be integrated across systems, portfolios and departments and able to instantaneously uncover new and complex fraud schemes,” said Mamoun Alhomssey, Chief Information Officer of ADIB. “With the AI-powered fraud detection offered by SAS and the scalable cloud platform of Microsoft Azure, we now can proactively identify emerging threats and automatically suggest new rules and scenarios in real time, further reducing our risk from exposure to fraud, waste and abuse.”

Detecting fraud and risk on the high seas

COVID-19 has roiled the world’s supply chains. But even as congested cargo ports and threats of bare shelves steal headlines, costly risks loom unseen. Dark ports of call.

Suspicious ship-to-ship transfers. Dubious loitering.

With billions of dollars at stake each year, AI is being applied to tens of billions of data points to illuminate vessel behavior like never before. Lloyd’s List Intelligence and SAS this summer debuted Seasearcher Advanced Risk and Compliance, a maritime risk analysis platform. The data models, developed in collaboration with leading shipping, commodities, finance, legal and insurance experts, aid cross-industry evaluation of deceptive shipping practices and illicit activities. This helps compliance professionals act quickly to avoid fines, sanctions and reputational damage.

“Our collaboration with SAS has pushed our analytical capabilities into another realm,” said Michael Dell, President of Lloyd’s List Intelligence. “We are now providing our customers with a new level of risk detection and assessment that resets the bar for maritime intelligence and drives transparency in the industry.”

The future of anti-fraud technology

In the summer of 2019, SAS and the ACFE collaborated on the inaugural Anti-Fraud Technology Benchmarking Report. The more than 1,000 ACFE members who contributed to the research study foresaw the rise of AI, machine learning and biometrics; increasing anti-fraud tech budgets; and shifting data analysis techniques.

How has the landscape changed since the report debuted? SAS and the ACFE conducted a follow-up survey this fall and will unveil the results in early 2022. Preliminary findings signal that advanced analytics have become even more indispensable for fighting fraud in its many forms.

“Organizations are reporting significant COVID-driven upticks in their application of anti-fraud technology, with 43% of respondents indicating they’ve accelerated their use of analytics to combat fraud amid the pandemic,” said Stu Bradley, Senior Vice President of Fraud and Security Intelligence at SAS. “Further, 60% expect bigger anti-fraud tech budgets over the next two years. As organizations modernize their technology, operations and customer engagement models, these investments can become the foundation of a broader enterprise customer decisioning strategy that fuels even greater innovation, from the back office to customer-facing engagement.”

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