Monzo Staff Weekly Q&A - Jarno Wolf (COps Financial Crime Specialist & Squad Captain)

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

Hello to all wonderful members of the Monzo Community Forum! Whether you are human, animal, alien, or any other type of life-form, you are all welcome to the party :tada:

This time it’s an actual party, because it’s our third birthday!
Hopefully you’re just as excited as we are!


But first, there is work to be done! If you haven’t read through all our previous Staff Q&A’s, we’ve compiled them here in a handy, helpful list!

Week 1 : Chris MacLean, Customer Operations & Vulnerable Customers :santa:t2:
Week 2 : James Nicholson, iOS Engineer :green_apple:
Week 3 : Tara Mansfield, People Operations Manager :woman_technologist:t5::man_technologist:t3:
Week 4 : James Routley, Backend Engineer :hammer_and_wrench:
Week 5 : Hugh Wells, Customer Operations :policeman:t3:‍♂
Week 6 : Naz Malik, Technical Specialist :computer:
Week 7 : Fred Morgan, COps Squad Captain (Calls & Social Media) :telephone_receiver:
Week 8 : Emma Northcott (COps Scaling Team) :balance_scale:

Without further ado, let’s welcome our special guest this week, ready to answer all your questions… It’s Jarno Wolf, our COps Financial Crime Specialist Squad Captain! That is a very long job title, so, feel free to say COps FinCrimeSpec SC if you want to :grinning:


So, what do we know about Jarno?

Let’s learn!

He joined Monzo in January 2017 as a member of our COps team, quickly showing a keen eye for financial crime related queries, and has now graduated to being a Squad Captain of our COps Financial Crime Specialists! What does this team do? Well, I could tell you, but why would I when Jarno will be here to answer that very question himself! But so you all know what kind of questions you can ask to dig deeper, roughly speaking it is the team that is the interface between COps and Financial Crime! That may have been obvious. Sorry. I thought it was worth mentioning :wink:

Jarno tells me that his day to day work can be summarised as “Fighting Crime and Delighting Customers, also helping other people Fight Crime and Delight Customers!”

The most interesting fact about Jarno? He was once part of an international advert for hair pomade, which we, his beloved colleagues, don’t let him forget. I can confirm that this is true :grinning:

His favourite thing about working at Monzo? “Working with such an inspiring passionate group of people.”

So let’s get some questions in and Jarno will be here on Thursday to answer them!

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How do you keep up to date with the latest financial crimes?


What is the most common financial crime you guys come across at Monzo?


What drew you to the financial crime queries, and is it related to previous work or interests of yours?

Also, do COps get queries that they suspect are people trying to perpetrate financial crime and those get passed to your team, or is it only dealing with people who have been victims?


Does your FinCrime role cover AML or are they seen as separate issues?

Is FinCrime by the merchant covered by your role or just FinCrime by the account holder/card holder?


What’s the most interesting crime you’ve ever come across?


Great questions all, keep 'em coming, Jarno will be here tomorrow to answer them :grinning:

What’s your favourite crime to investigate? :mag:


How many people are in the team? And how many ‘cases’ to you get a week?
As monzo is a relatively small bank I can’t imagine it’s alot,


What tooling do you use to monitor suspicious behaviour?

Have the COPs staff been trained to identify issues that are not always obvious over in-app chat?

Do the staff get trained on voice patterns?


There are so many interesting typologies and techniques people use to commit financial crime, as a team we’re all interested in the field so we share articles and reports that we find in a slack channel. If anyone goes to a conference they’ll update us on anything interesting they learn too so we tend to keep up to date that way :mortar_board:


Forgive my ignorance, I don’t mean this in a stupid way. But…

Why do monzo care about fin crime? Because it’s bad for their customers, or because it personally costs them money, or because there is legislation in place forcing you to give a shit?

I presume realistically it’s all three? But if you could elaborate a bit that would be sweet


Not including me we have 7 fincrime specialists in COps 5 in the office in London and 2 who work remotely, there’s the wider fincrime team too who we work with, made up of security engineers, and analysts.

The number of cases is hard to pin down as we get work in a few different ways. We’ve got around 60 more in-depth investigations on the go at the moment, we’ll review around 5-600 accounts weekly as part of our transaction monitoring process, there’s around 150 signup related reviews we’ll do a week too. This is just a snapshot, but it’s a fairly typical week :muscle:


This would be stolen debit card fraud, people topping up their Monzo account with stolen debit card details. :no_good_man:This was something we saw on the prepaid program too so we’ve had some time to get better at stopping it


Great question! I grew into it while working here, fincrime isn’t an area I’ve had any experience in before but I started at Monzo as a cop when the team numbered in the 60s and really enjoyed the deeper investigations. I’ve not got a technical background so the investigations I did most were related to fincrime and as the team got bigger and the opportunity arose to specialise I went that way.

We deal with both sides, we’re around to support the frontline team by having specific knowledge and acting as a point of escalation so anywhere we’re needed in the fincrime world we help out, sadly the criminals often take up more of my time :disappointed:


We cover the whole spectrum of financial crime including AML (anti money laundering), I know a lot of banks work on this separately from fraud but that wouldn’t make sense for us at this stage I don’t think.

Im not 100% sure what you mean by fincrime by the merchant in this case, is that a rogue merchant making unauthorised charges to a Monzo card?


yep. Not the Monzo account holder committing crimes…but a merchant fraudulently processing a transaction with a Monzo card, be it a stolen active Monzo card presented for payment by a non Monzo customer (before it is frozen) or a card stolen in the mail (e.g. by a corrupt Royal Mail employee) used to attempt to draw funds (before activation).

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There’s been some really interesting cases, one that stands out was someone defrauding people by pretending to sell puppies, taking a deposit in advance, and providing no puppies :dog: the investigation into that was interesting, sad, and adorable.

This is a form of advanced fee fraud, which is very low tech and has been around for years, watch out when you’re transferring money to people you don’t know :mag_right:


Hey Jarno, thanks for this. A follow up, what happens to the customers you catch doing this? Do you block them getting Monzo account and is their a procedure to report this to Credit Reference agencies so other Banks can be alerted? Lastly because its a crime do Monzo report each of these to authorities?

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I really like picking apart networks of people working together to commit financial crime :spider_web:

It’s really interesting to investigate individual people’s actions and how they add to the overall suspicion around a larger group. It uses all of the fincrime skills I’ve developed since I started here and feels like it has a substantial impact.