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Combating Fraud, Waste and Abuse Before It Happens — ICYMI

Jon Coss, CEO of Plum Identity, discusses a new framework for fighting fraud and mitigating risk while protecting individual privacy rights.

Considering the sheer amount of money that state and local government spends — let alone the stakes involved in delivering, or failing to deliver, services to citizens — it is probably not surprising that fraud has been an ongoing problem for those governments.

What might be surprising, however, is the sheer volume of fraudulent activity — especially thanks to the recent pandemic. A Government Accountability Office report from September 2023 estimates that state unemployment insurance programs paid out as much as $135 billion in fraudulent claims. An Associated Press analysis earlier that year found that bad actors potentially stole more than $280 billion in COVID-19 relief funding.

Not only is this money going largely to fund illegal activities, but this means less funding available for schools, hospitals and highways, to name a few. And fighting fraud is not a “set it and forget it” activity — like a whack-a-mole game, when one path is blocked, fraudsters pop up elsewhere.

Since it is much more difficult to claw back money after it has been improperly distributed, the focus must be on stopping that money from being paid out in the first place. But can the government fight fraud without infringing on privacy rights? Plum Identity CEO Jon Coss says it can.

Coss is no newcomer to the issue, working for several decades in gov tech, founding several companies (including Pondera) and spending at least 15 years focused specifically on the area of fighting fraud, waste and abuse.

In this episode of “In Case You Missed It,” he joins Dustin Haisler and Joe Morris to discuss the scope of the fraud problem, his concerns with the direction he saw fraud prevention going, and his company’s pre-payment behavioral analytics fraud solution that can help government stop someone from pretending to be you — without relying upon personally identifiable information.



“In Case You Missed It” is Government Technology’s weekly news roundup and interview live show featuring e.Republic* President Dustin Haisler and Chief Innovation Officer Joe Morris as they bring their analysis and insight to the week’s most important stories in state and local government.

Follow along live Fridays at 12 p.m. PST on LinkedIn and YouTube.

*Note: e.Republic is Government Technology’s parent company.


GovTech Biz
Dustin Haisler is the Chief Innovation Officer of Government Technology's parent company e.Republic. Previously the finance director and later CIO for Manor, Texas, a small city outside Austin, Haisler quickly built a track record and reputation as an early innovator in civic tech. As President, Haisler drives exponential growth, implements new ideas and promotes a corporate culture that rewards creativity. Read his full bio.
Joseph Morris is the Chief Innovation Officer of <i>Government Technology's</i> parent company e.Republic and a national keynote speaker on issues, trends and drivers impacting state and local government and education. He has authored publications and reports on funding streams, technology investment areas and public-sector priorities, and has led roundtables, projects and initiatives focused on issues within the public sector. Joe has conducted state and local government research with e.Republic since 2007 and knows the ins and outs of government on all levels. He received his Bachelor of Arts in government and international relations from the California State University, Sacramento.