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The Cost of Fraud Rose Sharply Over Pre-COVID-19 Levels

by | Feb 3, 2022 | News | 0 comments

By LexisNexis Risk Solutions

LexisNexis Risk Solutions has just released its 2021 True Cost of FraudTM Study Financial Services and Lending Report, U.S. and Canada Edition. The study included a survey of 502 risk and fraud management executives in financial services and lending companies.

The findings revealed four key areas of focus:

  • Attacks and Costs: Fraud costs and attack volumes remain significantly higher compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic especially among U.S. banks and mortgage lenders.

    The cost of fraud for U.S. financial services and lending firms is between 6.7% and 9.9% higher than before the pandemic. This increase is driven by mortgage lending (up 23.5% since pre-COVID-19) and a continued upward trend among banks (+13.0%).

    The start of the pandemic saw a spike in fraud costs and volume, as those numbers rose significantly in 2020. They’ve since softened a bit for credit lending and investment firms (though still above pre-pandemic levels). Paycheck Protection Program loan fraud likely drove this sharp increase.
  • Mobile Channel Impact: Where mobile transactions are, fraudsters choose to go. The mobile channel continues to impact higher fraud costs and volumes. Financial services and lending firms found that criminals particularly targeted this channel for fraud during the pandemic.

    The number of transactions being executed by malicious bots and involving fraudulent synthetic identities has risen significantly. Without support from digital identity and transaction fraud detection solutions, financial services and lending firms find it hard to differentiate legitimate customers from fraudsters.
  • Customer Journey Fraud Risks: Friendly/first party and third party/synthetic identity fraud are the primary drivers of financial services and lending fraud losses throughout the customer journey. They account for roughly 80% of fraud losses during new account creation, distribution of funds and account login.

    Approximately 20% of fraud losses for US financial services and lending firms were from third party account takeover, a much lower percentage but still significant.

    Identity verification is a top challenge. Study findings show that layering specific digital identity solutions at different journey points can lessen the risk. Unfortunately, no single solution can address all fraud-related issues. A multi-layered solutions approach is best, particularly including those solutions that address the digital identity and transaction risk.

    Different combinations of solutions may be required at different stages, such as:
  • Layering behavioral biometrics with other digital identity solutions for new account creation
  • Layering device assessment tools at the point of funds distribution
  • Layering both behavioral biometrics and device assessment with other biometrics at account login

    Organizations need real-time transaction tracking tools that allow them to address not only individual identities but also the risk of the transaction and prior behavioral patterns of transaction entities.
  • Fraud Prevention Best Practice: The data is clear. The best practice for fraud detection and prevention is a multi-layered solutions approach, ideally one that involves the integration of fraud prevention with cybersecurity operations and the digital customer experience.

    Fraud prevention solutions must be able to assess both the physical and digital identity attributes. They must also account for the risk of the transaction. A layered approach allows financial services and lending companies to apply more or less identity authentication efforts based on the risk of the transaction.

    Layering in supportive capabilities – such as social media intelligence, AI/ML models, rules-based approaches and crowdsourcing – further strengthens fraud prevention. Study findings indicate that firms following this approach had lower fraud costs: $3.53 vs. $4.20 for those who didn’t.

    59% of US banks and 45% of US investment firms used cybersecurity alerts while only 42% of US lending firms used them, choosing instead to rely more heavily on social media intelligence and rules-based approaches.

    Finally, the study revealed sizeable familiarity with the Fraud Classifiers model, published by the Federal Reserve to classify fraud related to payments. Just over half of mid/large U.S. and Canadian financial services and lending firms say they use it currently, and many more say they expect to use it within the next 12 months.

Win the Fight Against Fraud

As identity verification becomes more digitally complex, balancing fraud prevention with customer friction is more difficult. Without the assistance of solutions that detect digital behaviors, anomalies, device risk, and synthetic identities, financial services, and lending companies will find it impossible to uncover the increasingly sophisticated crime occurring in digital channels.

The good news is that the cost of fraud and the volume of successful attacks can be mitigated. Financial services and lending firms that invest in the best practice, multi-solutions layered approach and integrate it with cybersecurity and digital experience operations can see a significant reduction in fraud.

Originally posted on LexisNexis website

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