When technology is great, does 1 + 1 = 5?

August 9, 2010 by Monica Pearson

A few days ago I saw an article about hackers working from Russia, while committing check fraud in the United States. In what those investigating are calling a brilliant operation, the fraudsters compromised companies that archive and store records of check images or checks themselves. They then downloaded those check images and all available information. By printing new checks and using an old Internet “money mule” scheme, the fraudsters were able to send the bogus checks to ”the mule”, often as a payment, and have the check cashed at the mule’s bank to get the balance of the funds wired to an off-shore bank account.

That article made me think about new breakthroughs in technology. What if those fraudsters had been a little savvier? What if they had the most recent smart phone application installed and didn’t need a mule to wire the money? They could have simply written checks and uploaded them for deposit to an account to which they had gained access with the hottest application du jour – deposit via photo image uploaded from a smart phone. That application would have allowed the fraudsters to cash the bogus check, gain access to the funds and move them to the next account at will. Or would it?

Given the move toward mobile banking, it isn’t really a stretch to see this kind of thing happening. Probably not, but if organizations offering this kind of service use a risk based authentication approach it is more likely they use fraud models and decisioning strategies to minimize fraud and protect consumers while pushing out the latest technology. For those reasons, risk management solutions and enterprise fraud vendors need to not only keep pace with technology but also stay ahead of the curve in order to provide optimized decisions and the most relevant fraud analytics.

Considering recent fraud trends and my love affair with mobile everything, I know I want the organizations I do business with to do everything they can to prevent fraud…and I’m positive I want my smart phone to be as smart as possible.