Collaboration to Protect the Vulnerable


Collaboration to Protect the VulnerableHaving spent a good part of my career managing fraud-prevention solutions that harness the power of collaboration, I’m a big believer in the valuable role collaboration plays in the fight against financial crime. This is one of the many reasons why I volunteer my time as a member of the advisory board of The Knoble, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing together the anti-financial-crime community to devise better ways to combat human trafficking, child exploitation, financial scams, and elder abuse.

A powerful example of the potential of more deliberate collaboration among the financial services community as well as the public sector is Project Umbra. This workstream, one of many underway at The Knoble, is dedicated to improving financial institutions’ (FIs’) capabilities to detect online child sexual exploitation (OCSE).

It brought together FIs, law enforcement, and service providers to create a scalable and repeatable methodology. This methodology leverages financial crime risk and due diligence data in combination with each participating FI’s existing processes, as well as OCSE-specific training for investigators.

Participating banks included Scotiabank, U.S. Bank, Fifth Third Bank, and M&T Bank. In its first year, Project Umbra increased law enforcement referrals for suspected OCSE from participating FIs by nearly sixfold over the previous year, with false positive rates as low as 1.5:1.

This is just the beginning—phase two will entail expanding this successful methodology to other FIs, while honing it further. Not only does a success story like this mean making a very real difference in the lives of victims, but it is also a rewarding way to remind the analysts and investigators on the front lines of the valuable day-to-day work they are doing to help detect and prevent human crimes.

If you’d like to meet Ian Mitchell, founder of The Knoble, join him at Aite-Novarica Group’s upcoming Financial Crime Forum on September 19 in Charlotte, NC and learn about how you can become part of this worthy cause.