Article 5 min

Fraud Awareness Week: Meet global fraud strategist Carmen Honacker

Global fraud strategist

November 18, 2020  

Global fraud strategist

The speed of fraud ­— as with all things digital — is accelerating. Now, sophisticated fraud rings can perpetrate their attacks across the globe almost instantly. To counter these serious threats, new fraud prevention systems and procedures are crucial.

Of course, part of this involves sophisticated technology to monitor patterns and look for unusual activity. But the need for smart and dedicated people with expertise in countering evolving threats isn’t going anywhere. For Fraud Awareness Week, we’ve been highlighting some of these experts and their thought-leading strategies for countering fraud.

Our second fraud expert comes to us from Sony Interactive Entertainment. Sony Interactive is a multinational video game and digital entertainment company which owns the PlayStation brand along with numerous digital studios. With their global reach and mass appeal, Sony Interactive needs to ensure their onboarding experience enables players to start playing games quickly, without allowing fraudsters to penetrate their systems and potentially do any damage to their valuable reputation.

Carmen Honacker, Sr. Manager, Global Fraud Strategy, Sony

We asked Carmen Honacker from Sony Interactive for her thoughts on global fraud. Carmen has been in credit card fraud and cybercrime prevention since January 2007. She started her career at Yahoo! Search Marketing and then went on to build and/or manage fraud departments for numerous merchants, focusing on digital goods and finally gaming, leading the fraud strategy for Sony PlayStation since 2017. In addition, she also serves on the Global Board of Directors of the MRC (Merchant Risk Council), and co-chairs the Conference Committee for the MRC North America.

If you had 50 Bitcoins (current value: $675,000) to invest in fraud prevention technology, what would you invest it in?

I’d start my own company and do a unique blend of mixing security technology with fraud technology. I’d hire the absolute best in the industry and focus predominantly on company culture, reputation and trust.


Because many fraud companies are started by people who never worked in the fraud industry and are looking at the problems merely from a revenue-making perspective, instead of solving real problems for companies that usually struggle with budget issues, and convincing their leadership to solve for something that may not have happened yet.

Identity verification — overrated or underrated?


Identity verification is necessary if you want to find out if a person is who they say they are. Customer friction needs to be kept to a minimum, so making sure you don’t accidentally hold good people up in your fraud checks is only possible if you can properly authenticate the people who interact with your ecosystem.

How do you find out about the latest and greatest in fraud prevention?

I’m on the board of directors for the MRC and have been part of the MRC for well over a decade. In addition, I’m literally linked with thousands of people on LinkedIn from my industry. I bring in others in my space to find out what they are seeing. For example, for gaming, I started a roundtable with other gaming companies, including the competition. The keywords are definitely connections and collaboration.

What is the one piece of advice you would offer someone who is entering the fraud industry?

Don’t spend time and money on becoming a CFE. Most of us don’t care if you have that. Job experience and the ability to think on your feet always trumps any certification that you may never need in real life.

What inspired you to choose this career, and what characteristics and skills do you need to be successful?

Well, I didn’t choose this career; just like the vast majority of people in the industry. We were pulled from other departments to solve a problem that quite literally emerged overnight.

What people need to be successful in fraud is a high sense of integrity, honesty, being highly analytical and having the ability to follow your gut instinct, as black and white guidelines are often not available. The ability to look at an account and sense that something is off, then having the courage and conviction to start digging to see if your hunch is warranted, is super important. It’s also important to learn quickly, and instantly pivot should a suspicion not prove true, or to notice a new trend that you haven’t seen before and recommend the best way to move forward.

Fraud prevention professionals working together

Visit Identity Insights ­— the Trulioo Blog — during Fraud Awareness Week to learn what other experts are recommending. Meanwhile, there are many steps that you can take now:

  • Get involved by using the hashtag #fraudweek
  • Learn more with numerous videos, guides and reports
  • Share this Fraud Prevention Tip Sheet

Ten quick tips to fight fraud and protect your business

To help with education and promotion of best practices during Fraud Awareness Week, we’ve created this tip sheet with facts and tips from fraud industry experts like Carmen.