12 Oct 2018

Tech to tackle fraud

techUK publishes a short briefing paper on the potential of technology to tackle fraud. The paper draws on the insights arising from our recent roundtable discussion on this subject.

Earlier this year techUK convened a group of senior police officers, civil servants, and tech industry leaders, to explore how technology can best be harnessed to combat fraud. The most recent stats from the Crime Survey of England and Wales revealed that fraud is the most commonly experienced crime in the UK. It is anticipated that the next set of statistics, to be published later this month, will confirm this trend. The NCA Strategic Assessment of Serious & Organised Crime 2018, published in May, emphasised the importance of fraud, and highlighted that “our understanding of fraud in the UK is hampered by under-reporting; less than 20% of incidents are reported to the police.”

techUK is conscious of the challenges facing law enforcement and policy makers in a world where traditional governmental models of recording and investigating crime are struggling to match developments in technologies - which enable credible threats to be delivered simultaneously to multiple targets at marginal cost.

The group identified a number of ways that improvements could be made. Bulk reporting tools for businesses, with clear signposting to a single point of contact for reporting is essential. There also needs to be closer working between industry and law enforcement. We must develop a model to encourage the sharing of data and tools. As a starting point, open APIs between systems would allow for much better sharing of threat data.

We have produced a short briefing note summarizing the discussion, which you can download below. techUK members undertook to work with police forces to improve their access to and understanding of industry capabilities. Particular technologies which will aid in the fight against fraud include: natural language processing; automated entity extraction; automated analytics; and open source intelligence analysis.

The briefing note contains several other recommendations to address the challenge of fraud:

  • Establishing two-way secondments between policing and industry: to allow industry and policing to share skills, experiences, and expertise.
  • Exploring the viability of setting up a policing equivalent of InterOpen: to incentivise collaborative behaviour among the tech supplier community.
  • Encouraging adoption of digital identity verification tools: a crucial tool in fraud prevention.
  • Working to understand the harm caused by fraud: to increase awareness of the threat.

Commissioner Ian Dyson, QPM, National Policing Lead for Fraud and Economic Crime, said:
In order to optimise our response to fraud, we urge victims to report to Action Fraud, helping us to understand and tackle the problem and ensuring we can develop our intelligence on the threat. We are working to increase information sharing between Action Fraud, law enforcement and business, and will continue to deepen our relationships with the tech industry to increase partnership working.

Ultimately, law enforcement, Government and the tech industry must continue to work closely together and deepen those relationships to ensure that police are equipped with the skills and tools they need to tackle this threat. If you would like to get involved in techUK’s work tackling fraud and cyber crime, please contact [email protected].