Initial test phases have found that government and private sector firms are defrauded by the same people

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The battle to catch fraudsters before they hit insurance companies has stepped up a gear, following the involvement of the IFB on a project with the government and banking sector to develop a fraud data sharing tool.

Once complete, the data matching service means that for the first time, known fraud data will be fully joined up across the public and private sector.

The IFB is taking part in the third and final testing phase of the counter fraud checking service (CFCS), which is looking at the potential benefit of sharing fraud data with the tax office, Department of Works and Pensions and banks.

Following the completion of phase three in August, a business plan will be drawn up by the different sectors to look at if the benefits of setting up the service justify the cost.

The second phase of CFCS, which ran between May 2014 and October 2014, investigated how public sector organisations sharing confirmed fraud data, could potentially reduce the incidents and losses.

In the first phase, which occurred between July 2013 and January 2014, each sector provided a sample of confirmed fraud data. 

They subsequently found there was an overlap of confirmed individual fraudsters targeting public and private sectors. 

Two insurers, including AXA, were involved in phases one and two. The IFB became involved at phase three.

AXA global fraud control officer Richard Davies said:  “I am keen for us to start looking at banking data because that is one of the strongest predictors we have seen of insurance fraud.

“The banks often have strong anti-fraud indicators they are acting on before we see that inside insurance books.

“For us to have that early warning would be extremely useful and the banks would also like to have access to our insurance fraud data.”

Led by the Cabinet office, the CFCS project was set up in March 2013 to identify whether public and private sector organisations were experiencing fraud by the same individuals.

Minister Francis Maude said: “We are using this data to help inform our business case. What these exercises have proved beyond any doubt is that government and private sector firms are often defrauded by the very same people.

“Fraudsters do not confine their activities to convenient organisational boundaries, and nor should we. For too long our defences have been fragmented.

“This work is complex, and it takes time, but my message is that government is committed to working with the private sector to develop a really strong united front.”

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