Picking an anti-fraud team

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fraud_small.jpgADOTAS EXCLUSIVE — Online fraud is a $4 billion dollar a year industry. It grows as the unemployment rate increases and the jobless attempt to earn a living through whatever means necessary.

Meanwhile, the Internet’s footprint on the global economy and culture becomes larger every day. The expansion of fraud and the identification of this risk will create more jobs in the fields of compliance, risk management, and best practices. Who will fill these positions?

For many companies looking to take action, the initial move will be to consolidate roles. Individuals in areas such as sales and marketing will absorb fraud identification, reporting, and prevention responsibilities. This will prove to be ineffective for the following reasons:

1. The sales and marketing staffs are not trained to identify fraud and they cannot keep up with the ever-changing tactics.

2. Associates are conflicted when faced with a fraud incident. They are not motivated to report fraud and their compensation structure dissuades them from reporting incidents.

3. Business goals are not aligned appropriately, which naturally moved fraud last on the priority list for the associates assigned the additional responsibilities.

4. While the internal attempt is made, no time is spent on partner due diligence and monitoring.

Organizations will benefit in the long term by hiring dedicated staff. This tactic is one component of my company’s Best Practice approach to doing business. My dedicated team helped realign business goals and create a culture that now embraces a higher set of standards and expectations.

Staffing and training were the largest challenges I have faced in the last year. The positions were new, the skill set was specific, and as a result we received a dichotomous set of resumes. Applicants with online marketing experience had little to no experience with fraud, or they came from companies where more unscrupulous methods were used, and I was not confident those habits would be easily kicked. The applicants with fraud investigative experience had no experience with online advertising, which is the basis of our business model.

I chose to hire candidates that had no knowledge of the online industry but who had a strong background in fraud investigation. One recruit graduated with a degree in sociology with a focus in criminal justice while another has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. The recruits also share commonalities in past professional experience. One team member worked as a special investigator conducting field investigations for a Department of Defense contractor, and another as an investigator for the state of Massachusetts and later as an anti-money laundering analyst for a financial company.

When recruiting for your team, expect to receive a small number of resumes compared to the average you may receive for other positions. Do not worry about where to post the job description, just get it posted. In the past, Memolink has posted the compliance analyst positions on our corporate websites, Jobing.com, Monster.com, Craig’s List, and niche tech websites. In the first half of 2008, the quality candidates came from the niche tech websites, then the quality declined and the best resumes came through Jobing.com. Be patient during the recruitment process, and be disciplined with hiring decisions. The right candidates will come along.

The recruitment of online advertising newbies placed additional emphasis on the need for an excellent training program. It needed to be thorough and begin with the basics, like what the acronym PPC means, for example. I gathered product and management leaders from across the organization and asked them to participate in the training. Sharing the training served three purposes. New Best Practices team members were oriented to the culture starting on the first day, experts conducted the training for their domain, and it allowed me a few hours a day to focus on strategic planning for the Best Practice approach.

Editor’s note: This is a series from Dianna Koltz, director of best practices and email marketing at Memolink, Inc., on how to use business standards to combat online fraud. Here are the past stories.

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