Monzo Staff Weekly Q&A - Shak Welch (COps, Financial Crime Specialist)

How do you make sure accounts are which are mistakenly flagged as being involved in fraud etc are unblocked as quickly as possible?

Do banks share information between them about accounts they’ve either closed or temporarily blocked do to fraud/money laundering/kyc concerns?


Hi Hugh ! :raised_hands:

  1. I was working for a traditional high street bank on the teller line and was dealing with an account closure request from a supposed family member of the deceased bank account. Sensitive situation to deal with, however the death certificate didn’t look legitimate and the ID was fake! It was at this moment, a young Shak found interest in financial crime prevention! I have worked in a few financial institutions and as a special constable for a few years :policewoman: before joining Monzo.

  2. This is actually very embarrassing and I am not too sure how I made it this far :smirk:. My pitch was a ‘Fan pack’! The idea came about when I was at a family home in Barbados and everyone was sweating. I basically charged money for a fanning service and the price increased based on the length of fanning time and any additional services e.g. providing drinks. I did have better Ideas as I progressed through the stages, but this is the one that kickstarted my application. Like I said, very embarrassing and I was a lot younger!

  3. Are 20 nuggets really a sharing box? :upside_down_face:


Hello Franky :blush:

  1. Quite difficult to give a specific answer here because different types of financial crime come in peaks and troughs and we’re continually discovering new techniques fraudsters are using.

We saw an increase in Pay at Pump fraud so we did some analysis and put some controls in place to stop it. We don’t see much of that anymore, but something else will no doubt come up soon.

  1. A customer received £20,000 into their account. They explained it was from their brother to buy furniture for their new apartment. The customer’s surname didn’t match the name of the person who’d sent the money and we weren’t convinced by their story. We got in touch with the bank where the money came from and they confirmed their customer had been scammed into sending the money. We were able to return all of the £20,000 the very same day.

  2. Probably when customer’s want to update their preferred name to something like KFC or a super hero character :joy:. We once had ‘Mr Miyagi’


Hiya Sacha :smiley:

  1. Can be predictable but fraudsters are very smart and are constantly changing methods. It is often like a game of cat and mouse and we are constantly trying to stay ahead of them.

  2. We are all trying to fight financial crime so it’s really important we work together to share best practices, threats and trends.

We have a really good relationship with lots of banks. We are always trying to connect with them and share both best practices and risks. We are members of the Fintech Fincrime Exchange, where we share typologies and learn from other Fintechs, and are currently in the process of joining the Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce, where we would be able to share and learn from the experiences of much bigger banks.

@Rat_au_van Hopefully this provides an answer to the 2nd question you asked above.


Brenda darls :hugs:

  1. :sunglasses: It’s a hard choice between Death Note & Fullmetal Alchemist!

I see myself in ‘L’ - “Justice will prevail” :balance_scale:


Hey Andy :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

  1. I can’t think of 1 excuse per se, but I do remember a fraudster opening multiple conversations with us in a short space of time with different excuses for their account activity. In the first chat the customer explained payments were from work as a gardener, another chat Uber, and another chat from friends - It was just inconsistent and an attempt at trying their luck !

Greetings Kolok :stuck_out_tongue:

  1. We do see offline presentment fraud, and there isn’t much we can do about it at the time, but we are able to charge it back. That means we don’t end up taking the loss.

Yo Danny :star_struck:

  1. Oh yes Danny! Fraudulent Dominos pizza purchases are questionable! But fraudsters need to eat I suppose.

Good afternoon Anachist :female_detective:

  1. This is a toughie!

My serious answer to this question is not to consider a career as a financial criminal! The Maximum sentence for Money laundering is 14 years but fighting those financial criminals is far more rewarding :wink:


What’s up Noevo? :relaxed:

  1. The most far fetched financial crime stories I’ve come across is when transactions are disputed but the evidence is overwhelmingly against the story being told and you can obviously prove the claim to be false.

  2. Internal financial crime is dealt with by our Fincrime and Security team. We have procedures in place to identify and deal with it :blush:


How you doing Stephen? :sunglasses:

  1. Financial crime is evolving! Fraudsters are smarter than before and are constantly finding new ways to defraud people and banks! In recent years we have developed mobile wallets, 3D secure, App only banks, cheque scanning in some banking apps, online credit applications etc… All great and convenient ways to get on with our day to day lives, but at a greater risk of people being defrauded. With this in mind, we have to stay on top of the increased risk that comes with convenient banking and look out for new ways fraudsters may exploit systems.

Honestly Stephen, no two days are the same. Financial crime prevention and detection is fun and exciting.


Angus dear :slightly_smiling_face:

:rofl::joy: A fraudster disputed a few transactions on the phone but we were suspicious of the legitimacy of these claims. When asking for a little more information about the disputed transactions, the fraudster all of a sudden claimed not to speak english (after having spoken perfect english throughout the call) and hung up!


I’ll be honest Dunsford, i’ve never heard of it :grimacing:

But I am currently watching Suits S8


Afternoon Rat_au_van :crazy_face:

  1. All flags like that are reviewed by humans, and we prioritise flags where customers are blocked, to make sure that we deal with the situation you mention.

  2. I answered this in my response to Sacha above :metal:


Thank you again for asking some really amazing questions! I hope you enjoyed Q&A with me today and I’d love to meet you at our next open office :raised_hands:

I’ll leave you with this: Financial crime is on the rise and fraudsters are looking at new ways to defraud us all! Please stay vigilant and be cautious! If you notice anything unsual with your account, get in touch with customer support immediately.

Have a great weekend! :dancer:



Sorry, that was in reference to the prior post about you looking out for internal financial crimes :slight_smile:
You watch them, who watches you kind thing?


:see_no_evil: I understand.

We have internal and external audits often :muscle:


Thanks for your reply!

No other information about this? Appreciate it isn’t your role…


I’ll answer from Shak in her absence :stuck_out_tongue:

We don’t have a lot of visibility over internal fraud control as that would defeat the purpose of having it! It is something that the Fincrime and Security team take very seriously :+1:


Fair enough :+1: