Tele-staff underused

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Companies should do more to encourage staff to detect fraud, said a leading psychologist in the fiel...

Companies should do more to encourage staff to detect fraud, said a leading psychologist in the field of insurance fraud.

Thomas Ormerod, a professor of cognitive psychology at Lancaster University, said he has seen first hand how staff in insurance call centres are not given the opportunities or respect they need to detect fraudulent claims.

"In one company they were called phone monkeys. It's not really productive to think of people that way," he said.

Mr Ormerod added that people's natural instinct to detect a dodgy caller was also often underplayed in favour of more high-tech measuring tools, such as voice stress analysis and forensic phrase analysis. Although these are reputable tools that more companies should invest in to help them detect fraud, he added that human instincts are also valuable.

"Companies should move away from the idea that there's a silver bullet but also recognise the notion that there is a natural propensity to detect anomalies. Realising that is helpful," he suggested.

Mr Ormerod, who has worked with the insurance industry for the past five years on fraud issues, said staff should see something given back when they do find a fraudster.

"People are empowered to report and follow up fraud if they are rewarded," he concluded.

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