Social Science Scholar: Anti-fraud Detection in a Global Economy

This summer I interned under Vestment Global Services (VGS) at the offices of PrivySeal in Johannesburg, South Africa. VGS is a U.S based impact investment/ strategic advisory firm that invests and consults for socially impactful ventures throughout the developing world. PrivySeal is a South African based anti-fraud technology company that VGS is invested in both financially and through executive leadership.  PrivySeal offers a digital accreditation product that verifies the identification, qualifications and professional status of individuals. Throughout South Africa and other countries in the region, there is presently a distinct issue with qualification fraud where individuals steal the identity of accredited professionals or act as a legally qualified individual to solicit monies from prospective clients. PrivySeal’s product acts as an instant digital verification that immediately shows clients that the individual in question is or is not who they claim to be, effectively rendering such fraud impossible.

Over the course of my internship, I worked directly with PrivySeal and VGS to streamline and advance the sales and marketing operations of PrivySeal. Specifically, I independently architected and instituted a digital Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for PrivySeal’s sales team, produced and developed the content for a new client marketing plan that directly increases the adoption of the PrivySeal product by clients, engaged in the prospecting and verification of sales leads, and participated in sales meetings and product presentations to prospective clients. These tasks allowed me to work directly with senior level executives from both VGS and PrivySeal, which afforded me a valuable amount of exposure to the inter-workings of the businesses.

Post graduation, I aspire to pursue a career in the hybrid non-profit and social entrepreneurship space in the developing world. While I have suitable experience on the non-profit side of things through different involvements with NGOs over my previous summers, before this internship I had never been directly involved with profit-focused entities.  Accordingly, my time with VGS and PrivySeal served as my first real-life exposure to the business world and helped fill my experience void. Because of this, I can say with complete confidence that this summer allowed for enormous personal and professional growth and has brought me significantly closer to my eventual career goals. I would like to note that none of this would have been possible without the generous funding and guidance I received through the Social Science Scholars (SSS) program. I am deeply grateful to my SSS instructors, Dr. Tom Taylor and Dr. John Mayor, the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, and the private donor that made this summer possible.

vince  William “Vince” Dewar is a 4th year International Affairs major from Tallahassee, Florida.

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