Learning the Lexicon of the Fraudster

Oct 31st '18

In today’s increasingly digitised world, staying one step ahead of would-be fraudsters is tough. Digital technology has made the risk of having sensitive personal or financial information stolen ever more pervasive.


Today, business communications has reached its latest inflection point with a dramatic shift away from email in favour of a diverse range of newer tools such as instant messaging, text messaging and the advent of new collaboration platforms such as Slack.


The pace of communications and channels available to employees has also created an open window for employees to take advantage of. This means that employees now have more channels to communicate and collaborate on committing fraud.


Fraud is now increasingly complex, and the challenge for vigilant compliance chiefs is to be able to monitor these communication channels effectively and stay one step ahead of fraudulent employees.


Whilst spotting fraudsters has become increasingly tough, would-be perpetrators of crime can often leave a trail of breadcrumbs that highlights their nefarious activities. It is often a race against time for many compliance departments to spot these clues and take action.


Analysis by Smarsh has revealed a shortlist of some of the most common phrases, often deeply hidden in the web of communications via social channels being used by fraudsters. The top ten most common phrases which could indicate fraud include:


  • Money was/is illegal
  • This is not public
  • Imp ? (shorthand for “important question”)
  • Delete text
  • Leak
  • Insider
  • Do not share
  • Is just a lie
  • Need to make money


While none of these phrases are iron-clad suggestions of fraud, laundering or insider trading, they’ve been shown to indicate an increased likelihood of illicit activity taking place. Although email is waning in influence, and is less likely to be the communications channel of choice for fraudsters today, there are phrases that can crop up on email that should cause consternation and be worthy of further scrutiny. These common phrases include:


  • Don’t leave a trail
  • Send to my Gmail
  • Call my mobile
  • Friendly payments
  • Don’t text me
  • Let’s take this offline
  • TYOP (“tell you on the phone”)
  • LDL (“let’s discuss later”)
  • Message me on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn


Of course, all the terms mentioned represent the tip of the iceberg. For a more comprehensive list of frequently updated terms and keywords, visit Smarsh Central.


In all but the smallest organisations, manually searching for these terms would take an enormous amount of time. They would leave gaping holes in any supervision program leaving most firms vulnerable to litigation and fines.


The challenge is to automate the capture and analysis of such data in a single place. This ensures compliant productivity, ensuring employees do what they are good at.


Learning the language of fraudsters is an increasing challenge for many compliance departments. The various platforms and communication channels available has intensified the task. Businesses must not shy away and remain attentive to ensure that they are able to stop criminals in their tracks.


Source: Smarsh


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