Firms advised to consolidate anti-fraud measures

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The most effective way of tackling online fraud is to centralise detection systems, experts in the field have advised.

Speaking a the annual Retail Fraud Show in the UK anti-fraud specialists argued that the proliferation of data across the enterprise increases the likelihood that criminals will find a weak spot.

Tim Sparrow, a consultant at payment provider Cybersource, argued that while a multi-pronged approach to data security has its advantages, frequently firms are left with large volumes of data residing in multiple places.

"Despite what the sales people say there is no single tool which can provide 100 per cent accuracy and is economically viable," he said. "Having multiple tools is a challenge because data is in different places, so using a single centralised platform to consolidate all your information allows you to be more efficient."

The Royal Mail has been able to buttress its fraud detection systems by introducing a common repository for data generating through its web site, high street stores and call centres. Such centralisation was "essential" in helping get a handle on all that data, said Paul Donald, project manager at Royal Mail.

Donald added that firms should ensure they don't "put a heavyweight management structure in place" to control data, as that can hinder decision making. Instead, IT should fraud prevention systems must ensure people can make quick, informed decisions.

He also stressed that fraud prevention systems need to retain some manual controls to minimise the number of false positives they generate.

At Home Retail Group, the parent company of Argos and Homebase, the anti-fraud team includes a full-time risk analyst to monitor data on an ongoing basis, said the firm's fraud prevention manager, Mari-Ann Bayliss. The team also has a member dedicated to analyse online auction sites, aiming to track fraudulently purchased goods which are being re-sold online.

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