Wednesday, March 07, 2007

fighting fraud

The BBC is reporting figures published ACPO on the cost of fraud in the UK. They have come up with the eye-watering figure of £20bn a year, equiv to £330 per person.
The per person figure resonates with me, as 12 months ago my credit card details were swiped, and I lost about £300. Fortunately Egg had spotted the unusual payments and stopped the card before anymore was lost. They were also v.quick in refunding me. But they were the eventual victims of the fraud.
Fraud is something that the Council's audit team have to take seriously. But they are also hampered by Whitehall targets. There is one measure whereby they need find and take action on so many frauds. This has the effect of seeking out lots of small frauds, rather than going after the "Mr Bigs", as that only counts as one action, even if it might stop a higher value of fraud.
To me this highlights the futility of target setting:
"When a measure becomes a target, it is no longer a useful measure." - Prof M Strathern restating Goodhart's Law.

If any target should be set, then it ought to be based on the value of frauds detected and action, not the number.


At 10:46 pm, Blogger Paul said...

There's also a flip side to the inconvenience caused by the rocketing level of fraud. As the credit card companies wise up to the fact that fraud exists (I remember trying to get my money back in the bad old days) they are much more trigger happy when it comes to stopping cards. Trying to get my bank to release the stop on all my cards after they spotted the purchase of a number of PCs in Birmingham for the Hodge Hill by-election wasn't easy...!


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