Handling billions of transactions annually, Nets is among the top payment processors in Europe. We keep a tight focus on making it even easier and more intuitive for our customers to handle digital payments and related services. This has made us a trusted partner to more than 700,000 merchant outlets, including 140,000 online merchant outlets, more than 260,000 enterprises and over 250 banks across Europe.
At Nets, we see easier products and solutions as the foundation for growth and progress – both in commerce and society. It’s our ambition to turn a complex reality into easy, intuitive and customer-oriented solutions. As a leading provider of digital payment services and related technology solutions across Europe, Nets operates a deeply entrenched network which connects merchants, financial institutions, corporate customers and consumers, enabling them to make and receive digital payments as well as, increasingly, utilize value-added services to help them improve their respective activities. Nets operates across the payment value chain from payment capture and authorization through to processing, clearing and settlement.
Digital Fraud, Intelligence&Research department ensures the trust in Nets and its services provided by working on both prevention and detection of fraud cases. The Department is responsible for the development of new prevention solutions and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards and requirements.
The fraud cases are classified into the three overall arching categories. One of them is caused by external events like data breaches around the world causing consumers’ sensitive data to be sold on Dark Web marketplaces. Secondly, fraud comes from manipulation or so-called Social Engineering. e.g. phishing campaigns where consumers are tricked into handing over personal data to criminals or even more sophisticated cases like investment fraud, where consumers are manipulated into investing (Ponzi Scheme). Thirdly, we see a hybrid of the first and second fraud types. Criminals have obtained data about the victim and utilized this knowledge to create a trustworthy story, which allows to convince a higher number of victims and putting the ever-increasing number of people at risk.
The challenge we face is that regulations are pushing fraud towards the “hybrid version”. This leads to significant financial losses for the financial industry and emotional losses for the victims. Therefore, the digital world is losing trust and confidence.
There is a way to combat the hybrid version with awareness, but the awareness itself does not solve the problem. In order to safeguard digital transactions and prevent fraud, we need to understand what triggers the victims to make a transaction in the first place. For example, how people are being manipulated into offers that on the surface looks a lot like investment opportunities - a large amount, longer-term, low risk and guaranteed return, but in reality - investment object does not even exist.
We believe that a part of the answer could lie in understanding the victim’s behavior and motivation. Therefore, we would like you to analyse what drives the consumers into becoming the victim of Social Engineering in order for us to combat fraud both via communication and improving our fraud preventive measures such as updating our machine learning and usage of artificial intelligence tools.
To proceed with this project we would like to conduct a qualitative study and answer these questions:
- Based on the consumer demographics, (e.g. education, age, etc.) or perhaps other trivial factors (e.g. IT literacy, Financial literacy, etc.) is it possible to segment the consumers to identify vulnerable for manipulation people? - make quantitative segmentation study.
- Can we identify common scenario patterns between victims that led into a trap? - through qualitative analysis of victims identify main drivers and motivational factors that led them into a trap.
- Suggest how vulnerable people could be targeted, reached and informed about potential threats on the internet.
- What other initiatives we could do to make prevention more effective?
To help you answer these questions we will give access to data that can indicate the size and scale in the Nordic countries. We can utilize our network to support an understanding of the current initiatives around communication and awareness. Our subject matter experts will support gaining insights into the world of fraud and connect you with victims to conduct interviews on a voluntary basis.
The expected outcome would be key motivational factors and drivers of becoming a victim of Social Engineering fraud cases. Overall, analysis should allow us to target fraud prevention communication better. Ideally, if the thesis scope would allow analysis could cover not only Nordic countries but also European countries with a comparison of differences between people in the Nordics and other parts of Europe.
We expect your work to also point valuable insights and gaps in our existing work that is carried out to prevent fraud. This might help to identify other initiatives if awareness and communication are not enough.
For this project, we seek a group of talented Master Thesis students (or an individual) who would be excited to work in areas like cultural, behavioural, societal studies, fraud detection and communication. The academic profile is not as important for us as the students’ interest in the topic. We would prefer a non-IT student, but rather a studnet that has a deep interest in human behavior, as our hope is to identify new insights into the “drivers” or motivations of the human being rather than identifying new IT technologies to prevent. A student that have skills in “nudging” or manipulation would gain a huge bonus.
We expect you to take full responsibility for driving this project from the beginning to the end. Our team will provide support to answer questions, give access to relevant people and data. You will have a workspace in our office in Ballerup.
The applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and we will close once the right candidate or a group is found. For any questions related to the project, you are welcome to contact Kris at firstname.lastname@example.org