by Karisse Hendrick, Editor-at-Large, CardNotPresent.com
Editor’s Note: All you zombies hide your faces, Halloween is over. But, we’re celebrating the season by time-traveling through our archives all the way back to 2014 for this spooky classic. To all CardNotPresent.com readers and their little monsters, we hope you had a happy and safe night of trick-or-treating and that your dental plan is up to date.
When it comes to fighting fraud, a lot of companies, especially when first faced with this issue, approach the problem as if they are fighting a dragon. They see fraud as a big scary animal that can be vanquished once and for all, as long as they don their special armor and arm themselves with the right tools. Once that battle is over, they expect to return to the village as the conquering hero, often thinking that once the large issue is resolved, it’s resolved for good.
But, in reality, fighting fraud is a lot more like fighting zombies. While armor is important, they can attack you from all sides, anywhere that you’re vulnerable – and many times, they find this vulnerability before you do. If you prepare to fight zombies, rather than the dragon, you know one weapon will not be enough. You need a variety, sometimes picking up anything and everything you have to defend yourself. Unlike having only one beast to battle, zombies keep coming – forever. Once the first set of monsters is taken down, another group arises, a bit mutated and more adapted to the single tools and approach that worked so well previously. And, perhaps the biggest difference of all is there will be no ticker tape parade when you return to your village (IF you have the time and wherewithal to do so). It will be a continuous and thankless job, but one that you know needs to be done to protect your people.
When companies create a strategy with a “fighting-the-dragon” mentality, they are setting themselves up for disappointment, more lost revenue and wasted time. If you think that you only have this one group to attack, that this will be temporary and that it will not adapt and change based on your defense methods, you are only setting yourself up for difficult conversations when the fraud continues even after all of your efforts. The result? More fraud losses and the need to re-align your strategy.
Instead, consider looking at your current fraud issues from the outset with the understanding that it will be a recurring problem that needs several different types of tools to catch those zombies. By putting a lot of thought into layering those tools, your people and processes, you will become more prepared for the never-ending stream of fraud that will morph with every change in your business. This should not be a negative or passive approach. You should be methodical in your timing and execution, being prepared for every change by having a plan in place before that mutation happens. Picking both the right internal and external partners to join you on the battle lines is important for the long haul. And, never underestimate bringing a little scrappiness and ingenuity to the fight.
This Halloween, remember that you are in a fight against fraud zombies, not fraud dragons.