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Gathering Fraud Intelligence from Unlikely Places

Today, more than ever, financial institutions are seeing value in collecting fraud intelligence that will assist them in a variety of ways, ranging from disaster preparedness to fraud detection.  Here are some best practices I’ve been hearing from my colleagues in fraud management:

Know who’s on your front line:  Identify the personnel best-suited to perform various types of proactive intelligence gathering.  For instance, is anyone looking into the latest cyber-related threats poised to do you harm?  The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that have recently littered the newswires is a great example of something that needs to be digested and understood by your entire company.

Develop a communications plan:  Decide who within your company should receive various types of intelligence.  For instance, you might determine that fraud investigators receive all financial crime intelligence, while corporate IT receives malware and virus intrusion intelligence. 

Take advantage of low-cost tactics:  No-cost ideas include creating simple search engine alerts on keywords; leveraging your contacts to build a strong network of people willing to share intelligence; and attending complimentary web events that promote education (here’s a list of free FICO webinars).

Socialize:  Join organizations that align with your information needs.  If you are focused on financial crime, you might be interested in joining an organization like the International Association of Financial Crime Investigators (  Online communities can also be a wealth of information, such as FICO’s online fraud discussion website

Share intelligence internally:  The most successful at this don’t just gather intelligence; they also disseminate it within their organization so that everyone can benefit.  This includes both critical fraud information, as well as more general information of value to all staff.  For instance, you may want to educate your workforce on new concepts and initiatives, such as around EMV and mobile payments. 

“Feed” the intelligence:  Fraud information is incredibly dynamic and requires frequent updates.  The same issues may have to be revisited multiple times to maintain the most current level of understanding and deter any threats.

Use data to respond faster:  Have the technologies and processes in place so you can quickly leverage the data you collect.  For instance, use tactical fraud intelligence to create rules that mitigate fraud before it disrupts your business operations.  This could be as simple as understanding the geographic disposition of a fraud threat so that your team can develop an offense before the fraud losses stack up. 

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