03 October 2016
Accura clamps down on fraudsters with new solution
Accura is the data analysis arm of VocaLink; its aim is to provide its customers with secure, compliant and actionable insights resulting from the application of sophisticated analytics to payments data. Invoice Payment Profiling (IPP) is one of the first solutions to come out of Accura and is already making an impact in reducing invoice redirection fraud. This solution is able to detect and prohibit fraudulent activity before payments leave customer bank accounts and will undoubtedly be welcomed by businesses and their employees, as well as their banks.
For small- and medium-sized businesses, invoice redirection fraud can have devastating implications; according to Action Fraud, over £1bn is unknowingly being handed over to fraudsters each year due to scams of this kind. In such cases, businesses are duped into paying money into a fraudster’s account rather than to their intended supplier’s. As soon as the money is received, the fraudsters are quick to move the funds from bank to bank, which weakens the money trail and it becomes almost impossible to track and recover the funds. These businesses are then in the unfortunate position of having lost funds and still having to pay their intended supplier. Some of the worst cases have resulted in company closures and the loss of many jobs.
Between 2014 and 2015, Action Fraud cited a 66% increase in the number of reported cases of mandate fraud in the UK. This type of fraud, similar in many ways to invoice redirection, is affecting businesses in all different types of industries. Fraud prevention experts Cifas and Action Fraud warned small businesses to be on high alert for fake invoices earlier this year, after figures revealed an alarming increase in scams in the first six months of 2016. According to the organisations, more businesses (749) have reported falling victim to such scams in the first half of this year than in the whole of 2015 (603). A few years back, the Olympic Delivery Authority reported a loss of £2.3 million* due to invoice redirection fraud. It seems that no company is without risk and therefore it is clear that something needed to be done.
A ground breaking solution
Accura applies sophisticated analytical techniques to the data associated with the payment transactions processed by VocaLink on behalf of the UK banking industry. It derives insights from approximately 11 billion annual payments (representing £6 trillion value and including 90% of UK salaries and 70% of household bills). One of Accura’s first solutions, Invoice Payment Profiling (IPP), flags possible cases of invoice redirection fraud to a business’s bank. The bank will then be in a position to work with its customer to either halt or validate the payment before the funds have left the bank account.
In the BBC article, Jim Wadsworth explains how Accura is tackling this issue and how they are already working with one of country's largest banks to prevent these frauds. "Every time a business pays an invoice a trail of information is left behind. By using this data, and overlaying it with cutting-edge data science techniques, Accura is now able to identify and flag suspected incidents of these types of fraud before the money leaves the account." In effect, the system looks for unusual characteristics in the invoice, such as a destination bank account number that has never been used before, atypical payment amounts, or false purchase order numbers.