"Catch me if you can" — said the fraudster

Apologies for any typing / grammatical errors! Please point out the same through your invaluable comments.


This is not about the great movie though! But this is exactly what typical fraudsters would say, smile and vanish. Now imagine the context of the telecom operator– millions of subscribers! How would the operator run among so many?

That’s not a great way to see who is stealing the “millions”.. and as a matter of fact– catching up with fraud is typically the “catch up” job– unless u have a trap for every possible fraud prank. But such a vast trap-net is not practical. Remember The Thomas Crown Affair. The fact of the matter is, even if you create a trap– “the face-less businessman” still escapes.

Catching fraud is about finding an off track heart-beat in the otherwise calm data-movement. Typically such attacks have peaks– so watch for sudden surges. A peak appears and dies– but the peak and the trail of the peak is where the millions is lost. Prevent future peaks of the same sort– if you know the peak made you lose $.

Find the heart-beats. This is very important. Large amount of $ may be lost by such chronic pulses– which may not have peaks but are repetitive. Monitoring the generic behavior of the data is of primary importance– it is almost like a terrain. When u scan the satellite image of a terrain one gets to see the various concentrations, hills, valleys and all are in different colors and shades. That is what differentiates the plains (the normal data behavior) with the crests and troughs. A view of the terrain is not the details — but just the bird-eye view.

This bird-eye view can be focused on certain sections after you have scanned the terrain, instead of monitoring only the sections at the first go. Narrowing down with pin-pointed precision is possible, its like the hawk-eye that can spot the smallest of rabbits.

When it comes to the question of implementation of a fraud catching tool- it is just impractical to try and spot every customer. This is when the bird-eye view helps in catching deviations- then spot on the prankster- zoom on to get clearer views– and then there is no place to hide for him– because we were watching from the top.

This is a story-telling approach–  it sounds nice– but of course there are practical challenges.  That is the on-field challenge, they are always there to stay.

Again, as I keep saying, this is just my opinion. Let me know your thoughts!!!

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