One of the earliest records of fraud tells of Hegestratos, a Greek sea merchant who took out an insurance claim against his ship and its cargo in 300 BC. He planned to sink his empty ship, sell its cargo, and keep the money. But his crew caught him in the act, and he drowned trying to escape.

Today, detecting financial fraud is not as straightforward. Scammers stay one step ahead of banks and resort to underhand methods to deceive the public. How can authorities put a stop to the cunning conman before it is too late?

Here are some tips for handling data to detect fraud more quickly.

Faster fraud detection 

With the recent spate of online banking scams becoming a cause for concern, it is no wonder that real-time fraud detection services are growing in popularity.

All sorts of fraudulent activity could be taking place as banks rarely have full visibility over how data is extracted and transferred. Confluent has worked with banks in Singapore and the region to secure financial transactions and prevent fraud with real time analysis.

Similarly, in many public agencies, data is kept in one location and not continuously moving across various systems  and services. There are long waiting times before agencies analyse data, so fraudsters can take advantage of time lapse while under the radar.

When data is actively shared across services and constantly moving from one location to another, irregularities can be detected in real-time. The power is that verification can happen there and then. Just imagine the number of fraudulent incidents that could have been avoided if this was the default setup for every bank.

Data in motion for urban planning 

In addition to enhancing security measures, connected data sources help to improve city planning in many ways. Here are three examples:

Firstly, it can ensure a smoother stream of traffic and save waiting time on the roads. For instance, movement of heavy vehicles along slopes and at traffic junctions differs from motorcycles and sedans, the ability to understand what is happening in real-time can help us better manage congestion and overall traffic flow.

Cities can monitor the movement of lorries with sensors installed near intersections, and programme traffic lights to turn green when a lorry drives past. This greatly reduces congestion.

Secondly, easily shared data can optimise waste collection services and reduce costs for cities, IoT For All reports. Wireless sensors can track when garbage bins are full and alert disposal companies. They can then adjust collection routes, rather than rely on a predetermined schedule. This system helps trucks avoid wasted trips.

Thirdly, connected data sources can assist unemployed people in their job search and provide them with support and relief packages in the shortest time possible. Governments can conveniently share information across social services and workforce programmes to bring citizens the support they need.

Smart cities require data to be delivered promptly. Data that is not synchronised loses real-time relevance, and all of these projects would have fallen apart.

These are just three of many examples of where live data can act as a strategic backbone to urban planning.

What Confluent can do to help 

These services hold great potential for improving citizen services, but rolling them out can take time. Governments have to juggle between old and new; and online and offline services. This can be a little bit messy at times.

Confluent can help cut across data silos and bring all data sources together, democratising access to information. This forms the foundation of a ‘central nervous system’ that allows organisations to adapt as and when changes happen.

Confluent can also provide greater coordination between the old and the new. Agencies can keep an old process intact while a new one is implemented in phases. This ensures that citizens continue to have access to public services while they undergo upgrades.

It is unfortunate that despite living in the modern world, we are still held back by age-old problems and swindlers like Hegestratos continue to have their way. We can reduce the occurrence of these tragic incidents by reassessing how data is managed.

Richard Koh is Area Vice-President, Asia at Confluent.