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Connexus : Issue 40
To serve and protect The mutual sector has built a strong network of professionals to fight fraud. BY CAROLINE RANCE Safeguarding members' money from local and international criminals is the work of around 700 mutual employees dedicated to fghting fraud. Operating behind the scenes in credit unions, building societies and mutual banks across the country, their approach is based on the philosophy that the security of each mutual contributes to the security of all. They collaborate with their counterparts in other mutuals and have close links with anti-fraud professionals in the broad fnancial sector here and overseas. Keeping ahead of criminals, who often have their own transnational networks, requires innovation, patience and dedication, says Jason Moffat, chair of the Australian Mutuals Fraud Committee. In an era when the risks facing fnancial institutions are increasingly diverse, he says the good news is that the mutual sector has some of the country's sharpest minds in fraud prevention and they are better connected and more knowledgeable than ever. The committee has notched up a decade of operation, making it one of the longest running in the sector, says Leanne Vale, who heads the Abacus fraud team. Vale says that, by working together, committee members guide the sector on international best practice and global understanding of the ever-changing challenges posed by perpetrators of fnancial crime and fraud. "Senior law enforcement people at both federal and state level have remarked on the way our centralised fraud portal provides us with real-time cohesiveness and the ability to reach everyone and act promptly," says Vale. Increasing sophistication Moffat, Greater Building Society's Newcastle-based manager, corporate risk and security, says in the past, credit card fraud "just meant that someone had stolen your card and forged your signature at the shops". “Now the internet has allowed offenders to be able to har vest credit card data and inter net banking log on details in a growing number of ways." He believes it is important for anti-fraud teams to be drawn from diverse backgrounds, and his own team has police, private inquiry and administrative experience. "It's important in this work to have people with varied life experience who 18 Connexus NEWS