Monzo Staff Weekly Q&A - Eryk Sawicki (COps / Fincrime) 🚨


Note : All Monzo Q&As to date can be found here :grinning:


Hey everyone! It’s your favourite thread of the week (probably) :grin:

That’s right… two letters, with an ampersand between them. Not B&Q, or H&M, although those are both things that exist.

It’s Monzo Staff Weekly Q&A! :tada:

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We’re hard at work here as usual. Energy Switching is happening. KFC joined up with Flux, so now you can see even more receipts in your app. We’ve got a Monzo Social happening up in Leeds soon! We’re working on you being able to see your American Express card balance within Monzo. And LOADS of other things. It’s really hard to keep up!

And through it all, our incredible COps just keep on delighting customers, and our Fincrimers keep sniffing out crime!

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That almost leads me into this week’s guest… but first…

Catch up with all previous Q&As here!

And now for the main event!

Joining us this week in the Hot Coral Hot Seat™️ we have… Eryk Sawicki from COps and Fincrime!

Eryk joined us in September 2018.

He is presently…

“Settling into my position as a Fincrime and Payments COp!”

Fun Fact About Eryk!

“I run Dungeons & Dragons sessions on AirBnb - the highest rated in Leeds - and a couple of my short films have been to festivals!”

His favourite thing about working for Monzo?

“Meeting all the wonderful people that work here and making friends for life, creating something truly groundbreaking! (also Bingo)”

So there we have it!

Get your questions in for Eryk - whether they’re about Monzo, COps, Fincrime, Payments, Dungeons & Dragons, or just life and philosophical meanderings… he’ll be here on Friday to answer them all!

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Monzo was fairly proactive, in different ways, with regards to issues at Ticketmaster and British Airways

Can you envisage Monzo going looking for problems before they happen?

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COps deal with issues customers have

Fincrime (presumably) deals with crimes against and by customers

How do the two come together within your role at Monzo?

Are you attempting to protect customers? Or check on their behaviour? Or both?

Tell us a whacky story that happened with someone trying to commit fincrime.

Also what’s the biggest in£ fraud that the team has dealt with. (And the basic story if poss)

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How has the system for dealing with fincrime changed and scaled as Monzo has grown to 1.6million customers? Has it required a lot more COps, better machine learning, both?

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Hey folks! Lovely to meet ya :wave:

I’ll prepare my answers for Friday and see you all then!

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Hi Eryk! I’m going to be cheeky and post two questions!

Firstly, do you work with legacy and other challenger banks in an effort to fight Fincrime. To me it would seem to be a shared goal for everyone which would ideally involve sharing information and best practices. Is this the case and how does that work generally speaking?

Second question: How does your role balance between people actively committing fraud and vulnerable customers who are a little less resilient to scams/manipulation?

For example: people hoodwinked into becoming money mules or sending large amounts into cryptocurrency (which I gather triggers some alarms at Monzo). Is it relatively simple to spot on your end or can it be a challenge to distinguish between the two?

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Also if the transaction is flagged ,but the customer insists on authorising the payment to what is clearly a scam (when it’s obvious they don’t understand that it is scam) can you refuse to put it through, or is it the customers ‘right’?

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What one piece of advice would you give pre Monzo you about the road ahead?

  • What are your top “things/ideas” that the industry as a whole could implement that would greatly reduce fincrime?

  • fincrime is always changing, have you got any more up to date figures on how well monzo has tackled this since the last update?

  • how do you keep yourself from telling your friends and family any juicy info you’ve just heard?

I hope that multiple questions aren’t cheeky - otherwise I’ve got a lot of apologising to do to previous Q n Aers! :scream:

Anyway, here are mine:

  • could you tell us a little about your role? Do you answer general queries in-app or only second line (?) crime related ones?
  • Monzo is well known for running off Slack. Are you a big Slacker (erm, you know what I mean!) What’s your favourite channel and reaction emoji?
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Hey Peter! I’m gonna answer this one first to give a bit of context I think will be relevant for my other answers :blush:

I started at the very end of September, and up until very recently I was working frontline within COps! We have a badge system that allows COps to specialise - in my case this became Payments and, now, Fincrime.

My time is now mostly spent off the frontline, handling fincrime-related tasks and supporting the frontline COps. This’ll be anything from reviewing flagged accounts to checking up on missing payments and helping COps with payment scheme queries.

Huge Slacker. My favourite channel is a tie between #blank-canvas and #office-world. Blank Canvas is a place for sharing your creative pursuits as a tool for wellbeing. I’m a film school graduate so always trying to keep in touch with that side :sweat_smile:Office-World is one for all distributed employees to chat and share their work spaces - it’s a lovely way to keep in touch with all the Monzonauts living all over the world.

My favourite emoji is the (I had to check my recents for this :joy:) ultra-fast party parrot :parrot:

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Hey Michael! :wave:

To be perfectly honest here: I don’t know and I wouldn’t want to talk about anything that isn’t my specialty :sweat_smile:

Our security systems are pretty top-notch, though, and we’ve been on the ball when it comes to spotting trends and mitigating risks. Sorry this answer wasn’t more involved! :pensive:

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Hey Jolin! :wave:

Yup - it’s been a bit of both! The Fincrime team has expanded and enlisted the help of Fincrime-badged COps (such as myself) - machine learning isn’t perfect though so the final decision will always be made by someone from Fincrime.

We have a team dedicated to scaling so it’s been a mixture of both getting in COps and making sure they’re working efficiently and our tooling enables and empowers them to get through tasks :blush:

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Hey Jack!

It’s a complicated situation! We’ll get in touch with other banks/they’ll get in touch with us when there’s some concerns about an account and schemes like Cifas and APP host databases that allow banks to share information.

Every bank has different processes though, so cooperation isn’t always the easiest thing :pensive:When you consider scams, it’s an unfortunate reality that inter-bank communication takes long enough for money to have already been passed on or laundered before either party can act. It’s definitely something our team is wholly passionate about solving.

That’s an interesting question! This is something our Vulnerability and Content teams work on - ensuring that everyone who uses Monzo is aware of the potential risks. We can’t stop you sending a transfer, but we can make sure you’re aware of the signs of a potential scam.

It can be a challenge to spot, though frontline COps are taught to spot potential signs of vulnerability. They’ll flag it with the Vulnerability team and with Fincrime, and we’ll take that into account. We’ve had cases where people have tried to socially engineer us though, and that really throws a spanner in the works.

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(This one’s gonna get real cheesy)

6 months ago I wouldn’t have expected to be working for a bank. It’s been a massive departure from what I studied and what I was expecting, and in a way that exacerbated the fact that I’m - by nature - a bit of an introvert so a change of environment can make things harder.

My advice would be to have put myself out there a bit more in my first couple of months! Being a remote worker it was easy to sign on and isolate myself from all the other COps. I’ve definitely caught up now, but getting involved in Monzo’s culture was something I should’ve jumped into headfirst! Everyone here is so lovely and supportive that you feel right at home as soon as you strike up a conversation.

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If someone’s sending a transfer to a scammer there’s not much we can do unfortunately! If the other bank is already aware, the money might bounce back to us. Otherwise we don’t interfere with people sending money as we don’t have visibility over what that money is for or if the account it’s being sent to is owned by a scammer.

When reviewing an account it can be quite obvious if it’s being used by scammers, and a lot of scammers follow the same patterns so we’re pretty on top of stopping them in that case. Much harder to stop people falling for scams though :pensive:

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I can’t wait for Confirmation of Payee to become an industry standard! For those not in the know: CoP is a check to make sure the name you enter when sending money matches the one on the receiving account.

I think such a simple change would have a massive effect on stopping payments being sent accidentally, or fraudsters using fake names/impersonating companies.

I’m afraid I don’t have any up to date figures - I just started in Fincrime so still getting caught up :sweat_smile:

It’s tough. Quite often we talk about the particularly juicy ones in Fincrime - they’re a great learning experience and something we can all benefit from. To be fair, my friends find banking incredibly dry so if I did tell them they wouldn’t listen anyway :joy:

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I once came across a profile of someone who had tried setting up around 10 different accounts with stolen IDs, and wore a differently coloured wig in every selfie video they submitted. I remember going through the list and thinking… wait a minute :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Oooo, I actually don’t know about the biggest fraud but I’ll see if I can find out and how much I can share!

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