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Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

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From career break to compliance career: Why being a mother helps me spot fraud – Frankie Dowling, Head of Compliance at Amaiz

Woman using the Amaiz business banking and accounting app

Frankie Dowling is head of compliance for Amaiz, a new banking and bookkeeping service for small business owners. Frankie has more than 20 years’ experience working in the regulatory field, most recently in risk and compliance, as well as GDPR, fraud prevention and anti-money laundering. She has worked internationally across many sectors including legal, financial services and banking, for organisations including Virgin Money.

Frankie Dowling, Head of Compliance at Amaiz
Frankie Dowling








“Fraud has risen by an astonishing 80% during the COVID-19 crisis. Fraudsters will typically play on hope or fear and financial uncertainty left most of us vulnerable to both of these things.”

Work hard and create your own opportunities

I work in finance, which I love, but I came to realise where my strengths lay and focussed my attention in those areas.  I noticed that I had a great eye for spotting unusual behaviour and identifying suspicious activity.

I also learned very quickly that I could identify a fraudster from their language and behaviour, this enabled me to prevent a great deal of fraudulent transactions from leaving accounts.  On the other side of this,  I was able to determine genuine activity and therefore reduce delays on customer’s transactions.

Money laundering can also be difficult to identify but my experience in identifying fraudulent activity also helped me become very good at identifying money laundering and mule activity.

I believe in hard work and continued learning; I also believe you create your own opportunities in life.  There will be times where you are asked to take on more opportunities or work above your pay grade, don’t resent this.  I often hear “I don’t get paid enough to do this” but if you take the opportunity and do it well, one day you will be.

I took a break to concentrate on raising my four children before moving into fraud and anti-money laundering, which led to a career in compliance. In financial services compliance is about following rules, laws, and regulations that govern financial institutions. Failing to comply may result in legal issues, penalties, fines, and damage to a brand’s reputation.

Being a mother has definitely helps me spot fraud. Having teenagers means I know a lie when I hear one!  Sometimes this is as little as an overly complicated explanation with far too much information offered, such as the day my young son described in great detail how somebody had broken into our house and stole his school shoes that he definitely hadn’t lost!

Or the day my daughter left the house and told me she definitely wasn’t going to a party (she was going to a party).  Fraudsters will often work in the same way.  There are also subtle changes to tone of voice and language used when somebody is lying.  My children are all older teenagers now and have just given up and decided that honesty is the only way with me, which is good as I believe this is the age where open lines of communication are even more vital.

Preventing money laundering and fraud

Amaiz is on a mission to transform the lives of small businesses and sole traders by providing quick and easy banking, payment and receipt management in one banking app. Amaiz combines the features of accountancy software with online banking so that all can be automated and carried out ‘on the go’.

My current role at Amaiz is head of compliance, which entails identifying and preventing the proceeds of crime from passing through the system, preventing money laundering and fraud.

Money laundering is about the concealment of the origins of illegally obtained money, typically by means of transfers involving foreign banks or legitimate businesses, and it can be linked to serious crime, human trafficking, and even terrorism.

A rolled up five dollar bill showing half of Abraham Lincoln's face with a rubber band above and below his eyeFraud is wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain, and it is not a victimless crime. I am truly passionate about protecting our customers and their funds.

I oversee the verification of details provided at the opening of all our accounts to ensure that we are not provided with any false details and that the account will not be used for any illegal activity. We then continue to monitor account activity for any concerns that may arise.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is also a very important part of the role as data protection is a huge part of everyday life.

A fast-paced reality

It’s difficult now to know how we managed before digital technology. With banking services like Amaiz you can open an account in minutes, do all your bookkeeping instantly and can even issue invoices while on the go.

Instead of being a specialist and laborious job, bookkeeping can all be managed in seconds between customers. Our research suggested that it saves the small business owner up to a day a week.

Supporting our customers through COVID-19

Amaiz launched just as the crisis hit. However, we are proud that have been able to support our customers through this difficult period. We offer a helpline and a team of accountants for our customers to speak to for any queries or concerns.

We have been speaking with small business owners about the challenges they have faced during the crisis and have been awestruck by their resilience and perseverance. A huge issue for many small business owners has been the rise in demand for cashless payments. Many of our customers were cash-based and faced losing customers due to this.

To stop them from losing customers we formed a partnership with SumUp to provide a mobile card reader to our customers to enable contactless payments, which was a real lifeline. Most clients believed enabling card payments would be difficult and expensive but we couldn’t have been happier to prove them wrong with the help of SumUp.

The rise of fraud and how to avoid it

Fraud has risen by an astonishing 80% during the COVID-19 crisis. Fraudsters will typically play on hope or fear and financial uncertainty left most of us vulnerable to both of these things.

Laptop with photo of faceless criminal wearing a hoodieFraudsters are career criminals and usually very good at what they do, therefore even the most vigilant of people may fall foul of fraud, so nobody should ever feel embarrassed or worried about reporting this. As a victim, you are not the one in the wrong.

Here are some tips to avoid being hit: Firstly, take a moment to consider any correspondence before replying.  If you get a phone call, email or text stating that it requires an urgent response this is likely to be fraud. Your bank will never pressure you to do anything and a sense of urgency is usually a red flag. Similarly, if an offer seems too good to be true it probably is!

Treat all calls as cold calls and never give out any personal information. If in doubt, ask to ring the caller back on a number you recognise or any number from the website. Use a different phone to make that call as scammers will stay on the line to pretend to answer the call.

And remember, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) won’t phone you or e-mail you (unless you’re already in discussions with them about the issue) – they use the post. A phone call demanding immediate payment (or prison) from ‘HMRC’ is a very common and a convincing scam. Don’t let them scare you. Also, remember that government grants and loans will never require you to pay a fee.

Understanding our audience

We find that women are far more likely to ask for help or explain what services would assist them better, this is great for us as a customer focussed banking app, we really appreciate this feedback.  If we don’t know what our customers want we can’t provide it.  We encourage all of our customers to tell us how we can do better and we will endeavour to do so!

A tough start but a bright future

Amaiz only launched in March 2020 (great timing!), so we are working hard and listening to our customers as to how we can add to our product to offer the best service for our customer’s needs. I love working for the Amaiz. I’m passionate about preventing fraud and Amaiz have the same dedication to this as I do.

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