Banks See Spikes in Suspicious Activity After Disasters

Queenslanders ‘least prepared’ for natural disasters

being prepared
17% of Queensland residents (Australia) say they aren’t prepared in the case of a bushfire, cyclone or flood – more than any other state, according to new research conducted by comparison website ARE YOU PREPARED?: Firefighters battle a grass fire at Biloela late last year.

WITH a scorching summer underway, it’s time to prepare for natural disasters.

Seventeen per cent of Queensland residents say they aren’t prepared in the case of a bushfire, cyclone or flood – more than any other state, according to new research conducted by comparison website

Thirty-two per cent of 2010 people surveyed said they looked to fire extinguishers to protect them, with similar numbers relying on emergency kits (32 per cent) and evacuation plans (28 per cent)….


The silver lining of disasters in Fiji? Improving the lives of women

When Cyclone Winston pummelled through Fiji last year, the largest storm recorded in the southern hemisphere, Sofia Talei’s taro and cassava crops were destroyed, leaving her livelihood as a farmer uncertain.

“I was so desperate. All the effort we put into it was destroyed after a few hours,” Talei, 33, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

But after the storm came an unexpected surprise: a wealth of financial literacy, business, and agricultural training, which led to Talei this year becoming the first female president of the main fruit and vegetable market in the Fijian capital Suva.

Women’s rights campaigners say disasters can present an opportunity for countries to not only rebuild infrastructure, but also tackle gender inequality, such as helping more women get into work and finding ways to address gender violence.

“Through the leadership training, it’s empowering us women to stand up and fight for women’s rights,” said Talei, a mother of three, standing proudly by her market stall, where she now sells coconuts and fast-growing crops like chillies, eggplants and cabbage which are better suited to unpredictable climates.

For stubborn gender stereotypes in small Pacific islands like Fiji mean women have fewer rights, such as access to services like banking, formal jobs, or even a chance to work, said Aleta Miller from U.N. Women in Fiji, which provides training for market stall vendors like Talei.

Such gender inequality has also led to high rates of violence against women. Two in every three women…


Banks See Spikes in Suspicious Activity After Disasters

Banks seeing a spike of suspicious activity in the months following natural disasters can use the information to better prepare for future crime-fighting efforts, according to an analysis of filings the banks made to the federal government by data-management firm Enigma.

The firm, which last month began a series analyzing suspicious-activity reporting by banks to the U.S. Treasury Department, said Wednesday in its latest analysis that it examined the linkage between financial crime and 20 natural disasters. It found the issues go beyond mere fraud: Banks are in the middle of preventing insurance exploitation, identity theft and cyber-related crimes following disasters.

Though the idea fraud is a problem after a disaster shouldn’t be a surprise, there is much to learn from the suspicious-activity data, said Angel Nguyen Swift, vice president of compliance and financial crimes solutions at Enigma, in an interview.

“It gives [compliance officers] more confidence in the work they do day-to-day investigating suspicious activity,” she said, as it helps them focus and anticipate the types of financial crime they want to prevent.

Banks “can gear up operationally” depending on the type of crime spike they expect to face, said Ms. Swift.

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in New York in 2012, for example, there was a massive spike of cyber-related suspicious activity reports, Enigma found. Ms. Swift said the issue came up across several natural disasters…


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