Mandate fraud gets supercharged!

I recently posted an article on LinkedIn regarding fraudsters ‘deepfaking’ a CEO’s voice in order to trick a manager into transferring US$243,000.

Technology has always been an enabler of fraud and this is an interesting development in mandate fraud, also known as ‘Friday Frauds’.

In mandate fraud, fraudsters look to apply pressure, sometimes on a Friday where there’s potentially less supervisory oversight, on the target company, and attempt to instruct/direct payments to themselves.

It presents a very real problem, costing UK businesses £93 million in 2018. It is often done via email, which makes it faceless, and relies on errors on the part of those being defrauded. Where an organisation ensures safeguards are in place, efforts to limit the success of this kind of scam can be largely successful.

Now, however, Deepfakes threaten to change the rules of the game. As demonstrated across various YouTube videos they are novel, fun and from the realm of internet meme culture but the real life implications of using this advancement in technology 'for evil' are far-reaching.

Deepfakes are part of the fake news phenomenon and present a geopolitical problem in that they are so effective in distributing misinformation online. We are today beginning to imagine a world where you cannot trust anything you read, hear or see online.

This is a prime example of the pace of technological advancement far outstripping the safeguards and processes in place to detect and investigate fraud. They are a new, real and present danger. The average mandate fraud costs circa £20,000, but the example above relates to a loss 12 times greater.

Mandate fraud is not new, it just has a new voice.