Tackling Britain’s fraud pandemic: what banks should do to help

4o August 2023

An unfortunate reality is that fraud is directly linked to the economic environment - in times of economic turbulence, there’s a visible spike in the number of scams and fraud cases reported to the authorities. In the first quarter of 2023 alone, over 40 million adults were targeted by scammers, and over £1.2 billion was stolen through fraud in 2022. Much of this reported fraud originates online, with social media and technology platforms providing fertile grounds for fraud to take place.

We’ve written before about what individuals can do to better spot potential scams and protect themselves from fraudsters, but the onus doesn’t lie entirely with you. Banks also have a role to play in tackling fraud, and at Chetwood we believe in doing everything we can to protect people from scammers.

Vigilance, strict security measures, continuous monitoring and customer education are the keys to an effective anti-fraud approach, and banks have a responsibility to commit to these principles.

Here are some of the measures we have in place to ensure your safety when you borrow from any of our brands.

Verification and authentication

The first step to combating fraud is ensuring that users are indeed who they say they are. Whenever a customer attempts to conduct a transaction, secure a line of credit or even check their balance, reliable identity verification and authentication methods are critical.

One useful approach is biometric verification - linking a user’s account to their fingerprint, voice, or facial recognition provides a unique point of access that scammers would struggle to replicate. Even the use of security questions, bank account credentials and PIN numbers to guard personal information are generally viewed as ‘must haves’ to protect against fraud in the current environment.

Monitoring and detection

Authentication and verification are the first elements that banks should address when trying to prevent fraud, but how they detect and handle attempted scams is just as important.

Vigilance is essential when battling opportunistic scammers. Fraudsters will attempt to take advantage of any possible opening, so continuous monitoring is essential to detect their activities and stop them in their tracks.

Rigid anti-fraud practices are required to identify fraud – this means that transactions and credit applications are constantly assessed to detect unusual requests or behaviour. Banks should collaborate with other financial institutions and law enforcement agencies, exchanging information and sharing strategies, while constantly updating their security measures, to stay ahead of the latest fraud tactics and technology.

With strong authentication processes and diligent monitoring, banks can make things as hard as possible for fraudsters to scam unsuspecting customers. However, one of the most important things banks can do to tackle financial crime doesn’t involve engaging with the criminals – it’s how they engage with potential victims.

Education and awareness

While authentication and monitoring can limit the success of fraud schemes, they can’t stop fraudsters from trying their luck. As long as savers have something worth stealing, there will be those who try, so being able to recognise the tell-tale signs of a fraudster at work is essential for everyone.

Banks have a duty of care to their customers, and providing assistance and educational materials that help savers spot fraudsters and stop potential scams in their tracks is essential. Encouraging users to be sceptical of unknown parties or those trying to pass themselves off as banks, institutions or even loved ones makes it more difficult for fraudsters to complete their schemes.

What’s more, the importance of protecting sensitive information cannot be overstated, and banks should encourage their customers at every turn to be cautious with their data, even with close friends and family members. Remember, if someone you know has access to enough of your personal data, they could use it to apply for credit in your name.

Protecting our users

Fraud is an unfortunate fact of life, but the perseverance of scammers should be outmatched by the diligence and care of banks in protecting their customers. At Chetwood, we’re totally committed to battling fraud in all its forms and will do everything within our power to keep your money safe.

To find out more about fraud awareness and prevention, check out our previous blog on the subject as well as these public resources.