The fact about fighting fraud – update from our investigation team

Western Union

Covid forced the world to digitise even faster than anticipated and with that came the burden of keeping businesses and individuals safe online. For us at WUBS, this means ever increasing our vigilance to keep customers’ payments as protected as possible.

To help us better understand the current challenges on that front, we asked Alex Beavan, our Head of Fraud Investigation to answer the questions below:

Is there a new type of fraud on the rise?

Fraudsters seem to have introduced new methods in their business email compromise attempts. We’ve seen recent cases globally where they tried, at the beneficiary change stage, to ask for update to contact details such as telephone numbers. This shows that they are seeking to go around our measures, where we have asked clients to verify with us verbally anytime they are prompted by email to make any modifications. Also we have seen instances of fraudsters contacting WUBS directly to make such changes. Information about this new development will be included in future outreach events and employee training later this year.

What is coming next in terms of our fraud prevention measures?

Apart from the latest process changes bought in with the help of Accreditation to help mitigate the risk of investment scams, we are hard at work enhancing our outreach programme. We have run NGO workshops, a number of Education vertical webinars and are preparing for the UK Education Customer Advisory Board where we will provide fraud scenarios for customers to work through. We are also assisting with the creation of some literature around WUBS security controls. Perhaps the most significant step has been that the team is pushing through an external fraud document for financial institutions to advise them on cybercrime trends and how they can assist their customers to mitigate the risk of induced frauds and business email compromise.

Please tell us more about how you work with law enforcement agencies and other organisations

Following on from the increase in investment scams in 2020 and into 2021 predominantly in the UK our fraud team has joined an intelligence cell with Legal Enforcement and other financial institutions in an attempt to mitigate the threat. A number of arrests took place in 2020 in relation to investment scams but the challenge remains. To that end the team has been very vocal in plans to share real time intelligence titled ‘industry sharing’ under the available legislation. Further meetings and proposals are currently underway.