How are we supposed to catch fraudsters and con artists in the age of computer savvy crooks?
The old ways of tedious fraud analysis—i.e., following the paper trail—must give way to analytical tools that can consume and analyze large amounts of data to spit out evidence in hours and minutes instead of days, months or years. The technological level of these tools that can enhance financial auditing and fraud examinations are all due to the refined level of inquiry that each brings to the table of fraud detection.
Fraud analytic tools, such as the ACL platform, uncover the nefarious workings of Ponzi schemes, financial fraud and money laundering. However, a much-needed next step is to expose the various schemes and educate more fraud and forensic professionals about the ready availability and high-tech fraud analytical tools that are paving the way for a more defined—and legally reliable—fraud trail that can withstand the scrutiny of the legal process.
At the center of fraud analytics is a more efficient way of preventing and detecting fraud, as well as better ways of associating the perpetrators with each dynamic of a fraud investigation. Whether the task is to quickly identify related parties in a scheme or to follow the money trail to offshore accounts, these fraud analytic tools can bring the nefarious perps to justice.
A peek inside the mind of a fraudster
Fraud has spread across the globe and fraud professionals predict that the amount of fraud will continue to increase as this decade rolls on due to advancements in technology and the increasing sophistication of fraudsters. Even Hollywood is recognizing the prevalence of fraud. Shonda Rhimes has introduced a fascinating television series which is a pointed character study of the after-effects of fraud. The series “The Catch” is about a woman whose boyfriend has been caught in a financial fraud scheme by conning her out of millions of dollars. The boyfriend never imagined that he—a Bernie Madoff-like character—would ever be caught.
The series genuinely demonstrates how culprits typically seem to assume they are smarter than everyone else and believe they will outwit the authorities. Our heroine Alice Vaughan is determined to not only unmask the fraud; but she also seeks revenge against her boyfriend.
I like to think of Alice Vaughan as an archetype for the after-effects that fraud wreaks on individuals, corporations, and even countries. Fraud causes nothing but misery, grief and shame.
Getting a step ahead of fraudsters
Although the series does not provide a detailed analysis of the scheme uncovered, I would like to think it could have been done by using “big data” type fraud analytics. As a subject matter expert on the auspices of fraud, I would have loved to see this shown in the series.
Fraud analytics is viewed as the new predictive tool of the future. It provides an overall view of the tools and practices in analyzing data that should be used in today’s fraud examinations. It allows the user to delve into the fields of data mining and assess the complexities of data discovered.
While technology has played a role in increasing the opportunities to commit fraud, the good news is that it can also play a key role in identifying new ways to detect fraud. However, a new revolution has taken us by force—new strategies, data mining techniques, and powerful software options are constantly evolving, and so must we.
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