CFIT leads industry coalition to ‘address’ economic crime

Editorial credit:

The Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT) has formed an industry coalition to fight economic crime through enhanced verification.

The coalition aims to assemble specialists from diverse sectors like finance, technology, policy, academia and more, with the mission of developing strategies to combat fraud, safeguard small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and enhance defences against crimes like authorised push payment (APP) fraud.

Furthermore, participants will engage in data-driven research and testing to address various security challenges in commerce and payments for UK businesses and consumers. The coalition’s focus includes verifying the legitimacy and identity of businesses interacting with financial services.

By combatting prevalent financial crimes, the coalition seeks to prevent businesses and customers from falling victim to fraud. Additionally, it aims to help banks and fintech companies serving these groups achieve efficiency savings, minimise liability and enhance customer experiences.

Ezechi Britton MBE, CEO of CFIT, commented: “Economic crime is a major threat to the UK’s financial security, and it can have a profoundly distressing impact on consumers and businesses. At CFIT, we are committed to addressing this and making the financial services industry more robust by uniting the best minds across the sector and beyond to combat this pressing issue. 

“This will be achieved through verifying UK businesses to fight economic crime. Our intention is to support the incoming Government and industry to put in place measures that will make financial services safer, and our economy even more resilient in the years to come.”

Economic crime in the UK is soaring, with nearly £1.2bn stolen from consumers in 2023. Almost half of this – £459.7m – resulted from APP fraud, where victims are duped into sending money for non-existent goods or services, like concert tickets. This type of fraud is predominantly online, constituting 76% of cases, with an estimated 232,429 incidents in 2023.

Commenting on Nationwide’s role in the new coalition, Otto Benz, Director of Payments, said: “We need payments to be safe and secure, and to ensure our customers have good protection against fraud, which is why it is important to deliver against these objectives.

“We share CFIT’s commitment to creating an ecosystem that employs digital verification and will collaborate with coalition partners to achieve this.”

Currently, CFIT is crafting the primary use cases for its upcoming coalition and plans to unveil the definitive partners by the end of Summer. Launching a programme of action, the organisation aims to share interim discoveries by Q4 2024, with a comprehensive report planned for early 2025.

The UK Payments Association has also declared its participation in the coalition. Recently, the Association sent a letter to the Payment Systems Regulator to delay incoming regulation around APP fraud reimbursements, which was subsequently rejected

Tony Craddock, Director General at The Payments Association, stated: “The CFIT campaign-led model, bringing together multiple stakeholders to tackle a thorny issue facing us all, really works. Fraud is such an issue, making up 40% of all crime in the UK today, and it won’t be prevented without us being able to verify identities using shared data at the point at which people pay.

“The Payments Association is delighted to participate in the next CFIT coalition, building on the success of the Open Finance coalition, in the months ahead.”