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Fraud and Risk Focus Blog

The Value of Face to Face Intelligence Sharing

21 January 2020

Fraudsters network and collaborate together effectively to commit their crimes. If we are to continue the fight against them: so must we.

As we enter the 2020s, the fraud prevention community continues to innovate and deliver ever more sophisticated solutions to detect and prevent fraud. At Cifas, we have launched our own Cifas Portal which will provide a step change in the way organisations interact with both Cifas and each other. The Portal will allow us to share information and communicate with each other in an instant - a key step to helping us react to fraud threats and trends in a more proactive way. We must remember that technological solutions are not the only tool we have in the fight against fraud and face-to-face interactions to help us detect, disrupt and prevent fraud are just as critical. 

Each year, the Cifas Organised Fraud and Intelligence Group (OFIG) meetings provide a forum that allow counter fraud professionals across a variety of sectors including banking, asset finance, lending, insurance, retail, local authorities, law enforcement and vetting specialists to come together and discuss the fraud threats, trends and enablers affecting their organisations. OFIGs support in-depth discussions about the techniques and tactics employed by fraudsters and provide best practice examples of how to respond. 

Spread across the country, the OFIG regional meetings provide a simple yet effective route for a diverse group of individuals and organisations to get to know each other and build deeper relationships than they would have done otherwise. Cifas organised 21 regional OFIG meetings in 2019, located across the UK in Edinburgh, Solihull, Skelmersdale, Leeds, Cardiff and London, with over 350 attendees from over 75 separate organisations in attendance. These allowed for individuals to expand their local network of contacts and gain an understanding of the challenges faced by colleagues in similar roles – an invaluable tool in the daily fight against fraud.

These meetings helped Cifas share hundreds of fraud threats and develop 15 ‘Be Aware Alerts’ on the Cifas Portal to help members detect, prevent and disrupt fraud. Open discussions across OFIG meetings also allowed us to identify key threats and trends affecting numerous organisations and individuals. Last year’s discussions centred around issues such as money mule recruitment on social media platforms, fraud tools being offered as a service by criminals to criminals, increasing concerns around individuals falsely claiming to be victims and/or vulnerable, and fraudsters attempting to game the system by challenging organisations who have identified them as committing fraudulent conduct.

Technological solutions remain a critical component of any organisation’s defence against fraud. They allow us communicate and collaborate in exciting ways, but we can and should supplement these tools by continuing to bring our community together in person.

To find out when the next OFIG meetings are, check out the Events page on Cifas Portal and email OFIG@cifas.org.uk to book your place.

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Posted by: Duncan McLellan

Duncan is a Fraud Intelligence Specialist at Cifas.

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Posted by: Duncan McLellan

Duncan is a Fraud Intelligence Specialist at Cifas.

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