Monsoon mines data to flush out refund fraud

Fashion retailer Monsoon has employed technology to help flush out three major types of fraud it has detected in its business.


Fashion retailer Monsoon has revamped its systems to cut exposure to theft and fraud, after identifying refund fraud and the reselling of items online as two problem areas.

It has begun mining data stored in its Retail-J electronic point of sales systems to identify refund fraud activity across its stores and pinpoint the individuals involved. The findings are also being shared with the police where necessary.

Loss prevention manager Richard Lawrance told delegates at a fraud conference that using business intelligence to mine the firm’s Epos data meant Monsoon could identify suspicious till activity and pick out unusual sales spikes that could be then be investigated more fully for possible fraud.

Refund fraud takes the form of stolen goods being refunded onto credit cards, used goods being returned for a refund or even staff buying Monsoon clothes at a discount and then having them refunded at full price elsewhere.

In terms of identifying staff fraud, Lawrance said using BI meant the firm could “find the needle in the haystack” and weed out dishonest employees.

He said the retailer was reviewing other technologies to cut fraud, such as RFID tagging, but had no plans to use it in the immediate future.

Another problem identified by Monsoon was the reselling of Monsoon items at online auction site eBay. He said the firm had taken steps to identify such activity and liaise both with eBay and the police to stop criminals.

“One suspect received £15,500 in nine weeks stealing and selling Monsoon products and other products on eBay, so you can see it is a substantial problem,” Lawrance said.

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