CUNA Mutual Risk Consultant: Change Approach To Managing Fraud

From CUNA Mutual Group Public Relations

For more information:
Phil Tschudy 608/231-7188
Rick Uhlmann 608/231-8940

SAN ANTONIO – Fraud is not going away, and criminals are working harder and becoming more sophisticated in their quest to steal from businesses, financial institutions and individuals. To thwart their activities, credit unions need to rethink their approach to managing fraud risk by adopting an Enterprise Fraud Management strategy, a CUNA Mutual risk manager said Wednesday.

Ann Davidson, senior risk management consultant, told an America’s Credit Union Conference Discovery breakout audience that means no longer “silo monitoring” fraud within each product area of a credit union.

“Enterprise Fraud Management coordinates fraud detection and prevention efforts across the entire business enterprise, and it establishes a framework for enterprise-wide deployment of fraud resources,” Davidson said.

It enables a credit union to gather and cross-match fraud-relevant data from all product lines, organizational units and geographic regions of the enterprise. It will prepare credit unions to “connect the dots and spot large-scale fraud attacks early in their life cycle,” she said.

Rather than having individuals working in siloed areas, Enterprise Fraud Management uses highly skilled and motivated fraud teams that prioritize fraud alerts based on the level of risk they pose to the entire credit union. Teams can plan and execute focused countermeasures to combat large-scale attacks.

Despite preventative efforts, what if fraud still occurs?

“It’s not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’ you are attacked,” Davidson said. Getting to the root cause of fraud is critical. Know what controls are already in place and where there may be gaps.

Davidson provided an update of the most popular fraud schemes being perpetrated and best practices for minimizing risks. The most common schemes include:

  • Card fraud, including skimming, phishing via email, phone and text, and kiting between business and consumer cards
  • Wire fraud by phone fax or email
  • Insider dealings (embezzlement)
  • Data breaches and system intrusions

“2011 is the year of the cyber vandals. Assaults can come from anywhere in the world, they’re difficult to nab, and they use multiple computers to cover their tracks.”

To help combat system intrusions, Davidson recommended the following:

  • Use antivirus software and update it often
  • Use a hard-to-guess password – containing a mix of numbers and letters – the longer the password the harder it is to compromise
  • Use different passwords for different websites and applications to keep hackers guessing
  • Install firewall software to screen traffic
  • Don’t open email attachments unless you know the source
  • Utilize a dedicated computer for the incoming/outgoing of funds by the credit union

Regardless of how the fraudsters get in, their end game is financial gain, and how they accomplish that continues to evolve. Fraud prevention measures are vital, but knowing where fraud is occurring and plugging the hole is even more important.

“It’s sort of like misplacing the lid to the candy jar in a roomful of kids. Until you find it and screw it back on, the candy’s going to keep disappearing.”

CUNA Mutual Group insurance, retirement and investment products provide financial security and protection to credit unions and their members worldwide. With more than 75 years of true market commitment, CUNA Mutual’s vision is unwavering: To be a trusted business partner who delivers service excellence through customer-focused products and market-driven insight. More information on the company is available on the company’s Web site at

CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name of CUNA Mutual Insurance Society, its affiliates and subsidiaries, including CUMIS Insurance Society, Inc.  Product availability and features may vary by jurisdiction and are subject to actual policy language. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wis.

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