The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), launched in June 2010 and overseen by the City of London Police, is now seeking to change these behaviours. The NFIB relies on voluntary disclosures from its partners, which include banks, retailers, telecommunications providers, government bodies and not-for-profit organisations. It gathers and analyses their data on confirmed fraud, identifies trends and aims to join previously unconnected strings to close the net around fraudsters.
What the NFIB lacked, however, were the skills to take the raw data that would populate the databases and to apply the metrics that would enable cross-referencing and, in turn, build the pictures that would lead to eventual arrests.
That is where KPMG came in. In July 2009, the firm seconded assistant manager Craig la Buscagné to the NFIB, initially for three months but this was soon extended to a year. With his background in data analysis, visualisation, and IT security he quickly established himself as the technical lead on the project, proving to be a vital cog in getting this centralised fraud data warehouse up and running.
The technologies used by the NFIB are setup to detect connections between structured data (date of birth, telephone number, etc) and non-structured data (notes flagged on a company's systems about particular customers or suspicious transactions). However, as different companies do things in different ways, one of the challenges was to get the partners to provide their data in a consistent format and to give them assurances that it would be handled and transported securely.
"Initially data was transferred in a variety of ways, but we put in place a secure electronic file transfer system that enabled partners to connect directly with the police system to send in their information.
To make the provision of data as consistent and as easy as possible, we literally provided the partners with everything they required and sat with them to explain how the system worked down to the level of which key strokes they need to press to make the transfer happen," explains La Buscagné. With his all-round experience, KPMG's secondee was able to save the NFIB time and money as well as passing on vital training to enable the bureau to run efficiently since going live.
The Home Office-funded NFIB is now enabling joined-up fraud detection by collating and matching public and private sector fraud information. The police are consequently better equipped to analyse millions of unconnected reports of fraud, identify criminal networks operating across the country and pursue fraudsters though to prosecution. Among NFIB's early successes has been a crackdown on an international ticketing fraud that targeted major sporting and musical events and detection of a loan repayment scam.