Fraud-Net.com gets states' attention

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Backers of Fraud-Net.com, which was launched earlier this month, are reporting nationwide interest as banks and police forces look to link to the Florida-based online financial fraud alert system.

If the level of interest translates into actual connections — more than 30 state organizations have expressed interest and as many as 15 could be on board by the middle of the year — Fraud-Net.com could wind up providing a nationwide service, according to Thomas Kerr, vice president and chief financial officer of the Florida Bankers Association.

The North Carolina Bankers Association has already signed up to launch Fraud-Net.com in that state.

"We never intended for this to go beyond the borders of Florida," he said, "but fraud knows no boundaries, and the kind of check and other financial fraud gangs we have operating in Florida also operate in other states and even internationally."

After a two-year feasibility study, the system took about eight months to develop before its launch this month. It works by posting details of suspected instances of fraud — including data and images — in an online system that validated members of Fraud-Net.com can access online (www.fraud-net.com). In addition, as any responses to those alerts are added to the database, e-mail alerts are sent to the system's members.

Tallahassee, Fla.-based Infinity Software Development Inc. helped develop the system. Security for the password-protected site is provided through 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer technology.

Kerr said plans are "on the drawing board now" to provide even more search capabilities for Fraud-Net.com and to tie the system into other databases so that users would have a one-stop resource for checking on fraud activities, validating Social Security numbers.

"It's not there now," he said, "but this has become a very rapidly evolving process."

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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