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Connexus : Issue 40
are dedicated and able to apply logic and common sense," he says. "This is a boutique profession where people have formal and informal avenues of contact. It's not a job you can do nine to fve. You have to be available to respond to anything anytime." He says members are especially appreciative when their mutual ensures a new card reaches them when they are travelling overseas. "They like to know that someone will get out of bed and do something for them, whatever the time is in Australia." Cost and inconvenience The national EFT Code and Visa scheme rules mean bank customers and mutual members don't wear losses due to fraud, but the people targeted suffer in other ways, says Moffat. "While it is the card issuer rather than the individual who carries any fnancial loss, people are inconvenienced by money disappearing or not being able to use their card and there's also a feeling of personal violation when someone has your details and accesses your bank account or uses your card." The global nature of fnance and burgeoning use of the internet for purchases and fnancial transactions makes quick and effective responses from fnancial institutions essential. "There's only so much that national law enforcement agencies can do, given that most of the threats come from offshore, so prevention and rapid response by the banking sector is critical," says Moffat. Con Nikolaou, fraud and security manager at Teachers Mutual Bank, agrees. A former chair and the current deputy chair of the Australian Mutuals Fraud Committee, he worked in the collections area before establishing the bank's credit control and fraud function and has championed the sector wide approach that mutuals take to fghting crime and fraud. Nikolaou is president of the NSW chapter of the International Association of Financial Crime Investigators. His links with law enforcement agencies and anti-fraud professionals working in a wide range of roles has convinced him that, regardless of size, fnancial institutions must recognise they could be targeted. "The commitment to combat fraud and safeguard members' funds should be at the forefront of the risk agenda for all mutuals," he says. "Fraud managers must be vigilant of the ever-changing fraud landscape and ready to fght this type of crime. They must keep their boards, their audit risk and compliance committees and everyone at their organisations informed of the types of fraud they are combating to ensure that awareness is widespread and everyone is engaged in this battle,” says Nikolaou. Educating people to look after their plastic and passwords is critical but when card numbers or details are illegally obtained by computer hackers or thieves, the focus shifts to loss prevention and providing support. "People are happy when they get a phone call to check that a transaction is valid,” says Nikolaou. "They write in and thank us for being so vigilant about their card security and that's what drives and encourages us. “You might think working in fraud is a negative environment but knowing you are safeguarding members' funds is truly rewarding,” Nikolau says. Carolyn Rance is a freelance writer. Meeting of minds This year’s Abacus fraud prevention symposium, held in Sydney in May, has been judged a success. The mutual sector’s brightest minds in fraud prevention received vital updates on all types of fraud from electronic crime to cyber and technology-enabled crime and cards during the event. It’s the biggest fraud prevention event for mutuals, says Leanne Vale, senior manager fnancial crimes for Abacus. “From examining international fraud trends in cybercrime to a keynote address from the Australian Federal Police head of high tech crime to in-depth examinations of fraud risk at an enterprise-wide level to media and how to build a fraud prevention community, there was something in it for everyone,” Vale said. Abacus CEO Louise Petschler opened the symposium and praised the work of the community. “The collective strength and cohesiveness of this group is fantastic,” Petschler said. “We now have some 700 people as part of our fraud prevention community and it’s still growing, testament to the work we do with members and its value to them.” The symposium also included a section from Abacus Legal and Fraud and Financial Crimes on handling of internal fraud. Vale says that, as fraud risks increase, more and more attend the annual symposiums, which began nine years ago. “Demand was so great this year that registrations had to close early,” she says. “Abacus Fraud and Financial Crimes wishes to thank all who attended for their engagement, support and enthusiasm and the enormous amount of emails with further feedback we are still receiving,” Vale says. You might think working in fraud is a negative environment but knowing you are safeguarding members' funds is truly rewarding. Con Nikolaou, Fraud and Security Manager, Teachers Mutual Bank www.abacus.org.au 19