National Business Crime Solution introduces Praesidio online fraud detection initiative

The National Business Crime Solution (NBCS) – the not-for-profit organisation that enables the sharing of data between law enforcement agencies and the business community in order to reduce crime – has introduced its latest pioneering fraud detection initiative. Praesidio – the Latin word for ‘Protection’ – is a data sharing solution that offers insight into persistent offenders who commit fraud against multiple online businesses, in turn helping companies to develop a more effective loss prevention strategy.

‘Claims’ is a type of crime now increasingly prevalent, as unscrupulous individuals take advantage of the loopholes inherent within online purchasing. For example, retailers are reporting instances of customers claiming not to have received goods, while some individuals are falsely stating that packages haven’t been packed correctly and ordered items are missing or that they’ve returned an item (when they haven’t) and that their initial payment hasn’t been credited.

The scale of the problem is immense. Proof of concept work from the NBCS, using 75,000 lines of data from six major online retailers, uncovered £3.4 million worth of potentially fraudulent claims. One example is approximately £13,000 worth of claims per month that had cross-matched based on two out of six retailers.

Online purchasing offers fraudsters a degree of anonymity due to their ability to use false or incomplete details during transactions. This situation has been addressed by Praesidio, which gathers data from retailers that suspect fraud has been committed and cross-references their information with claims data provided from other companies. This can then identify patterns of behaviour and warn other retailers of potential fraud scenarios.

The specially-configured Praesidio software uses a pattern-matching sequence and delivers real-time alerts, while the NBCS adds further intelligence from its existing collaborated activity data. Using known data on those committing fraud helps to build resilience against repeat offenders and can contribute towards any police investigations. The end result is a more robust online fraud prevention strategy which clearly identifies current trends and ‘hot spots’ as well as helping to reduce losses from this type of activity.

Spearheading the Praesidio initiative

Dan Hardy: managing director at the NBCS

Dan Hardy: managing director at the NBCS

Spearheading the NCBS’ Praesidio initiative is Alison Parkinson, the organisation’s recently-appointed fraud business development director. Armed with nearly two decades of experience within the retail sector, Parkinson has forged an enviable reputation for effective and forward-thinking fraud prevention strategies.

Parkinson joins the NBCS from Next, where she held the role of Next Directory loss prevention manager for over a decade. Prior to that, Parkinson spent nine years as profit protection manager with the Home Retail Group.

Commenting on her new role, Parkinson informed Risk UK: “Having worked in the security industry for many years now, I’ve watched the growth and influence of the NBCS with keen interest and admiration. As someone who fully understands the role that intelligence sharing and technology can play in the fight against online retail crime and loss prevention, I’m delighted to now have the opportunity to contribute towards the organisation’s future success with Praesidio, which I firmly believe plugs the gap in terms of how this very serious problem is addressed.”

Parkinson’s appointment and the launch of Praesidio follow on from significant Government funding for the NBCS as part of the Home Office’s Police Transformation Fund. The recent award of a six-figure sum was in recognition of the NBCS’ success in supporting the police service in the battle against business crime and will enable it to drive membership forward in order for the organisation to operate as an entirely self-sufficient, self-governing entity which is totally funded and controlled by members.

Dan Hardy, managing director at the NBCS, concluded: “Alison’s work to date in developing Praesidio has been very impressive. When we launched Praesidio at Retail Risk in Leicester on 5 October, it was unanimously well received. From speaking to our members, it’s clear that they believe it can help counter the increasing threat of online fraud, as well as bring those committing this type of offence to book. Although Praesidio is currently being used in the retail arena, it has the potential to be just as effective across the business community. What’s also evident is that preventing crime through the better use of intelligence sharing is the way forward for all organisations.”

*For further information contact Catherine Bowen via e-mail at: or on (telephone) 0800 080 6016. Alternatively, visit

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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