You better watch out, you better not cry: Cyber fraudsters are coming to town

December is always high table stakes in the cyber fraud world – Cyber and Fraud Strategy and Operations teams are always on high alert. While customers are merrily transacting on every device and channel you can imagine, so are the fraudsters.

So, what’s on the wish list of many cyber fraudsters? More data breach hacking, more malware, and social engineering. I am intent that the “bad guys” get coal in their stockings. But it looks like, with the recent data breaches and the spread of ATM Ploutus malware, we have our work cut out to make sure the fraudsters have a lesson to learn. In my past leadership roles in risk management,  I worked closely with my teams to ensure a good seasonal remediation plan was always in place.

With that seasonal element in mind, here is a cyber/fraud strategy team’s “shopping list” should be during peak fraud periods like this one:

  • Communicate with bank customers, educating them clearly and often on the types of scams that fraudsters are proliferating and suggesting how they can protect themselves from becoming victims of fraud. An educated, aware, and well-equipped customer provides an effective line of defense.
  • Ensure that you are gathering and acting on your intelligence on a timely basis. Understand your ecosystem of trusted parties to obtain this intelligence.
  • Pivot, Move, Pivot:  Create a “fraud observatory” in your fraud teams changing and adjusting your rules and strategy with the threats.
  • Provide quick and empathic aftercare when a customer becomes a victim of fraud, especially during the holiday season; this is essential to build customer confidence and loyalty.
  • Ensure you have an operational plan to handle a possible capacity growth in your cyber fraud alerts; cross train or incentivize the team to assist in achieving these goals.
  • Prepare your war room strategy in advance; ensure you have your communications and escalation plans in place with executive management team agreed on execution.
  • Adjust your cyber/fraud models, rules, and policies for seasonality.
  • Call on the “Experts” before, during, and after any crisis. Do not hesitate to bring in consulting or your solution vendor to assist you during peak season – chances are, they have a “think tank” of SME knowledge that can help you  move past the threat quickly.
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