Travel companies are being urged to take part in the industry’s biggest fraud survey and data analysis.
The study aims to analyse information from more than 1,000 UK and Irish travel companies to produce new guidance for the trade – and potentially uncover criminal gangs operating in the sector.
It will be the first time such data has been channelled through the Fraud Intelligence Network (Fin), set up last year by travel anti-fraud group Prevention of Fraud in Travel (Profit).
The group issued the appeal after teaming up with the City of London Police and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to identify new methods being used by criminals and the changing nature of the threat posed to travel businesses.
Chairman Barry Gooch is inviting any interested companies to take part. He said: “It’s going to be the biggest sample size to date. The 2012 survey was about 80 organisations; we expect about 1,400 this time.
“The more organisations that take part, the more useful the results, and [the more] free advice we will be able to provide to the industry.”
The survey will assess if firms have seen an increase in fraud and the methods they use to detect fraud. Participants will receive free limited access to Fin for taking part.
Fin can flag any reoccurring names or card details to help identify criminals operating across numerous companies.
About 17 travel organisations feed fraud data into Fin, which is used by City of London Police fraud specialists to detect criminals.
Gooch said: “Fraud data from the last few years goes into Fin; we then have 1,000-plus data sets to analyse. We could identify new organised crime groups. What you see [as a result] is a reduction in the types of fraud we identify.”
Results are combined with fraud data from official sources, turned into specific advice on counter measures, shared with participants, trading standards and police, and published on Profit’s website for organisations to use free of charge.
Data from the new study will be processed at the end of July and a report produced later this year.