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Leveraging video for banking fraud investigation

Fraud prevention, it’s time to get better acquainted with your security team. You may see them in the hallways, have a coffee with them in the breakroom, and possibly join them on the dance floor at your annual holiday party. But when it comes to sharing valuable video data that can help investigation teams assess risk faster and more accurately, fraud prevention and security still remain largely siloed in many of today’s financial institutions.

Despite the current fraud tools these organizations have already deployed, 43 percent report that their systems are so separate, they have no view of customers’ activities across their entire enterprise1. Further, 66 percent of respondents identified “controls that do not talk to one another among different parts of the organization” as the top barrier to improving anti-theft outcomes2.

And setting aside the billions of dollars lost to fraud each year, banks and credit unions are keenly aware of the non-financial impacts to their business. These include loss of productivity, reputational impact, negative customer experiences, and possible regulatory or other compliance issues3.

Why Video?

Video is often overlooked when it comes to fraud analysis, yet it is the only data source that enables investigators to actually ‘see’ a transaction happen, including who conducted it and how they appeared.

A video clip can reveal overtly fraudulent actions, like a skimmer being installed in an ATM. It can also expose behaviors or body language that would likely prompt further investigation, such as someone who seems nervous, secretive or is attempting to hide their identity. An investigator reviewing video of a flagged transaction might even recognize someone who has committed fraud in the past.

What’s more, the vast majority of financial institutions today already have video surveillance solutions installed in their retail branches, ATMs and corporate facilities for security purposes. Some have gone further by deploying intelligent video solutions that integrate seamlessly with transaction data to support enterprise- wide search and investigation capabilities.

So, even from a monetization perspective, it simply makes sense to leverage the video that security teams use every day to help reduce fraud, as well as the time and cost required to investigate these incidents.

Improved Productivity

Of course, a growing number of financial institutions are recognizing the value of video for risk analysis and are already sharing it informally between departments. Access to the video system, however, typically remains with the security group, leaving fraud investigators dependent on their equally busy security colleagues to find, download and share the exact video clip they need. Multiply that by the number of alerts an investigator must assess every day, and it’s easy to see that this informal process can become pretty inefficient rather quickly.

Ideally, financial institutions should extend video access to their fraud investigation teams to support their ability to action alerts much faster and resolve more cases over time. This requires enterprise-class video management software that makes it easy to partition access by group and individual users to ensure corporate compliance and privacy standards are maintained.

Opening up access to the video system to authorized investigators will not only help improve productivity, it can also lead to an increase in the number of fraudulent incidents being identified by experienced investigators who can spot suspicious behaviors that might otherwise go undetected.

A Better Customer Experience

In addition, using video to improve analysis and decision-making can help ensure a positive customer experience.

An investigator able to leverage video to help determine that a flagged transaction is, in fact, fraudulent, makes it possible for their financial institution to notify potentially affected customers proactively—rather than having a customer discover the fraud themselves. Alternately, using video to help confirm that a transaction is not fraudulent means that a customer’s transaction can proceed as normal without service disruptions.

For example, an investigator reviewing a potentially fraudulent check deposit can use video to watch the transaction happen. If they see that a man deposited the check, but the account is held in a woman’s name, they will likely assess the transaction as high risk, put a hold on the funds and capture an image of the man for further investigation. Alternately, if the video tallies with other details of the transaction, they can more easily determine that it was legitimate and the customer will see the funds in their account as expected, with no surprises or unexpected account holds.

As every financial institution recognizes, while no customer wants to be the victim of fraud, most are quick to contact their bank to complain when they cannot access money in their account. Some might even switch banks entirely if incidents happen more than once or are particularly inconvenient.

A Clear Visual Record

Video can also play a critical role in helping resolve customer disputes, providing investigators with a view into what actually happened during an incident.

Perhaps a customer reports that their bank card is missing and was used to withdraw funds from their account, but the bank can see that the transaction in question was made using the correct personal identification number (PIN). The investigator can also see that the ‘stolen’ funds were withdrawn immediately after the customer’s last transaction. It’s then quite easy for the investigator to review recorded video to confirm their suspicion that the customer left their bank card in the ATM after retrieving their money. Because the customer session wasn’t completed, the next person in line was able to withdrawal additional funds from the customer’s account before the machine captured the forgotten card.

Thanks to the video evidence, the investigator is able to verify exactly what’s transpired in the case and provide a detailed report to ensure that the bank can resolve the dispute in a timely manner.

Clearing Cases Quicker

Combined with the existing systems fraud investigators already use to assess risk, video delivers visual evidence that can help clear cases faster, lower false positives and increase the returns on video surveillance investments.

If your bank or credit union is not leveraging this valuable asset already, now is the time to get the discussion started. If you’re a fraud investigator, video represents a powerful addition to your investigative tool belt. If you’re a security professional, extending access to video internally will mark you as a thought leader, and could result in a cost-sharing arrangement to support more advanced video surveillance technology.

The bottom line is that video is a source of information financial institutions are already collecting. The challenge is to leverage it more extensively to help improve customers’ experiences, better protect assets and compete more effectively in the dynamic financial landscape.

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Security Today.

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