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Daniel Szabo, eFraud: “the best defense from fraud is awareness and education”

Because companies cannot monitor each step of every employee, especially due to the hybrid work environment, fraudsters are finding more ways to exploit vulnerabilities.

When it comes to fraud, it’s one of those threats that can be hard to detect until it’s too late. It can cause major financial or reputational damage both for an individual and an organization.

While regular Internet users try to prevent cyberattacks with first-rate antivirus software, it’s not enough when it comes to fraud. Both advanced fraud detection tools and employee education are important to successfully shield your company from cyber felons.

To learn more about the right fraud prevention measures, we invited Daniel Szabo, the Founder of eFraud – a company that specializes in fighting fraud and scammers.

Let’s go back to the very beginning of eFraud. What was your journey like throughout the decades?Although fraud has increased and fraud tactics have evolved due to technological advancements, our journey has been imperturbable. We started in 2004 because of our conversations with FDIC and NCUA regulators. Those conversations helped us to understand that there was a need for a company to offer a solution to provide financial institutions with up-to-date fraud awareness content. 18 years later we hear from the banking insurance regulators and compliance officers that this need is greater than ever.The best part of our journey has been the long relationships we have with our clients, many of whom are passionate fraud fighters. It remains an honor to work with them in preventing fraud and helping so many people in communities throughout the United States.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do? What are the main issues you help solve?Anyone can fall victim to financial fraud, identity theft, or online scams. The best defense is awareness and education to change old habits and learn how to use good judgment. eFraud Prevention™ is a cloud service that helps financial institutions do just that. The eFraud Prevention™ service improves consistency with fraud awareness messaging while supplying a wider scope of fraud awareness content internally and externally for both retail and commercial account holders.Writing fraud awareness articles, updating articles, staying consistent with website and social media messaging, researching new trends, and supporting victims of fraud can be accomplished more efficiently with outsourcing.Account holder education is a key to minimizing fraud. The difficult part is consistency and remaining committed to a cross-channel effort. Established in 2004, eFraud Prevention™ is the oldest and broadest provider of fraud prevention awareness. As financial institutions expand their brand experience across multiple channels, we offer an opportunity to optimize that experience.How do you manage to keep the fraud awareness training both educational and engaging?There was a study conducted by the FINRA Investor Foundation in 2021. The result of their study was that repeated exposure to fraud awareness education reduces susceptibility to investment scams. We can keep our awareness content educational and engaging by offering a managed system that designs content to be accessible in every area of outreach. This includes social media, websites, blogs, seminars, webinars, chat, SMS, email, co-browsing, telephone, and print. We are in a unique position in that we can see consumer usage statistics throughout the entire U.S. This gives our clients the ability to see fraud topics that are trending right now and those that are more popular over a longer period of time. Interestingly, topics that are trending are often very different from those that are most popular. Our statistical intelligence gives bank and credit union marketing teams the ability to emphasize content that their account holders are most interested in right now.

Did you notice any new fraud techniques arise as a result of the recent global events?

We’ve noticed that many existing fraud techniques have increased with automated tools. We have seen a correlation between the increase in fraud and an increase in people trying to figure out where to report fraud. This is a big issue as our federal government only gets involved with higher dollar value fraud. Most fraud that is reported to the federal government is only used to maintain annual statistics. Meanwhile, local law enforcement doesn’t have the resources or jurisdiction to investigate most fraud incidents. Therefore, we’ve seen more non-technical newbie fraudsters using out-of-the-box automation tools to make easy money without fearing any consequences.

What cybersecurity risks do you think new business owners often fail to take into account?Trusting technology to the extent that they get complacent with their human firewall. In many cases, that's because they hired a reputable local IT firm and invested in what was recommended by those IT experts. This includes all the critical technologies, such as antivirus, malware detection, encryption, and firewalls. However, most management and staff do not fully understand the types of threats that cybersecurity technologies prevent and the types of threats that fraud awareness prevents.

New business owners do not conduct adequate cybersecurity training for themselves or for their employees. Given that the single greatest cyber risk is social engineering, which is basically some form of an imposter scam using people to voluntarily but unknowingly allow an attack to occur, it's critical that business owners and every employee have up-to-date resources to easily understand how to avoid and recognize cyber threats and social engineering tactics.

In your opinion, which organizations are attractive targets for fraudsters and should implement proper security measures as soon as possible?Any organization that may have user PII or payment data. Smaller organizations are attractive targets since their cybersecurity technologies are limited and their human firewall is less savvy when it comes to fraud awareness.

Talking about average Internet users, what measures and practices do you think everyone should adopt to protect their identity online?The easiest measures anyone can take to easily and quickly reduce their risk is to freeze their credit, use additional authentication with all online accounts, never click an email attachment unless you’re absolutely certain that it is safe, segment your home network, don’t share too much on social media, and check your credit reports and online accounts often. There are more measures to take, but this is a great start.

What threats do you think the financial sector should be ready to tackle in the next few years?

Expect to support more fraud victims in every demographic and in a variety of fraud tactics. Ensure that those who are victimized don’t become repeat victims. In many cases, fraud departments are shorthanded, this will have to change.

And finally, what’s next for eFraud?We are off to a great start in 2022 and anticipate having clients in all 50 US States by year 2023. This will be a milestone for eFraud Prevention™ as we started out in 2004 with that goal. We intentionally offer low pricing because it has been our mission to have as many financial institution clients as possible to reach as many people as possible. Preventing fraud with our bank and credit union partners and having the ability to reach millions of people in every corner of the US has been the most rewarding experience for us. In 2023, we hope to expand our service to the UK, Canada, and Australia.

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