Insurers can protect themselves from fake online customers

Published: September 18, 2018



Insurance companies in Canada are now as much online businesses as they are bricks and mortar. However, working with customers digitally comes with its own unique risks for carriers, such as knowing when someone is a genuine customer or a false identity such as a cybercriminal or online troll.

A security engineer speaking to Canadian Underwriter recently suggested finding “true” customers during account creation is the best way to avoid problems.

“If you know it’s a form of automation… then what you can do is put some blockages in there to prevent that automation from trying to commit fraud,” said Don Duncan, security engineer with NuData Security in Vancouver.

Such example of stumbling blocks for automated scam bots are captcha programs, which are designed to look for human input.

“If you know it’s a human… then make the experience as pleasant as possible and allow them to enter the information they have during that account creation process so that they can do what they need to do very quickly.”

Duncan is a scheduled presenter at the Retail Secure Conference on Sept. 20. He will discuss the costs companies face from ecommerce mistakes. Captcha methods work because cybercriminals usually use automated software to find websites with poor security. Often, fraudsters will go to great lengths to make a hit, including building an online reputation and gaining a credit rating.

“You may not recognize somebody right off the bat, but as you engage with them more and more, you start to build similarities with them and a comfort level,” Duncan said. “And based on that you can determine the level of risk.”

“Being able to identify and validate that user very quickly in the engagement cycle as that account is being created allows you to determine how are you going to engage with them going forward.”