Fraud crackdown gets software upgrade

by admin on July 13th, 2018

filed under 南京夜网

Auror is rolling out software that makes it faster for retailers to report shoplifting to police. Auror allows retailers to report shoplifting within 10 minutes. Photo: Sylvia Vincent
Nanjing Night Net

Software for cracking down on shoplifting and “drive-offs” at service stations may be able to help banks fight fraud that costs them millions, Westpac’s venture capital fund claims.

While most banks are putting money into financial start-ups, one of the more unusual investments from a major bank is Westpac Reinventure fund’s 10 per cent stake in New Zealand crime-prevention software firm Auror, which is expanding in Australia.

Across the Tasman, Auror began as a business for helping large retailers such as supermarkets alert police to small thefts worth less than $1000. Many of these go unreported, because it is often not worth the time involved with paperwork and other administration.

Now the firm is working with Australian petrol stations and in talks with retailers, as it also eyes a role with financial services.

Auror chief executive Phil Thomson said small acts of theft cost retailers millions, but can often take about 90 minutes for the staff of a retailer to carry out the administrative work needed to report it to police.

Auror’s system allows retailers such as supermarkets to report a crime in 10 minutes. This then gives police a larger web of detailed information about offenders and where crimes are occurring.

“We saw there was a bit of friction between business and police around who was responsible for those sorts of crimes that happen on commercial premises, and who was going to do something about it,” Mr Thomson said.

“We looked at how do we use technology to try to bridge the gap between business and police, to be able to communicate better, and share information,” he says.

After reaching an agreement to supply the NZ police officers with the information on smart phones, it then turned its attention to “drive aways” – where motorists drive away from a petrol station with a full tank without paying. This is estimated to cost petrol stations up to $20 million a year in Victoria alone.

Using number plate recognition technology, the software keeps a record of cars involved in drive-offs, and alerts the owner when they are pulling in to a pump. The business is expanding in Australia, including in more than 50 BP and Caltex service stations in Victoria, and is in talks with un-named supermarkets and a major shopping centre owner. Its business model is to provide its basic service fee, and then charge a subscription fee for more detailed information, such as for multiple premises.

Auror is also in “early discussions” with Westpac, a shareholder, over how it might help banks with cases of fraud that are too small to be investigated.

Just as retailers often do not report incidents of theft worth less than $1000, banks do not launch formal investigations in fraud cases of $5000 or less because of the costs and time involved. Mr Thomson said the firm’s software could be used to help banks make links between different crimes, including ATM fraud or cheque fraud.

Reinventure co-founder Danny Gilligan said platforms that helped address crime such as Auror could benefit the entire banking industry.

Fraud costs Australian retailers more than $7.5 billion a year, the industry estimates, while fraud on Australian credit and credit cards exceeded $380 million in the year to June 2015, according to the Australian Payments Clearing Association.

“These are actually in aggregate, very large multi billion dollar problems,” Mr Gilligan said. “To the extent that you can provide a platform to improve that, then that’s where the motivation exists for the banks to get involved.”

Auror is not yet profitable, but Westpac’s Reinventure aims to make investments that would go beyond the regular investment and time horizon of a bank.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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