Cyberattacks and Cryptocurrency Predicted to be Among Largest Fraud Issues in 2018

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Sarah Hofmann, CFE
ACFE Public Information Officer

In today’s world, it’s not uncommon to see headlines about new frauds many times a week. Whether it’s a new phishing scam targeting seniors or the arrest of a low-level employee embezzling small amounts from a local government office, most fraud-related issues are interesting to the public regardless of their profession. Since anti-fraud professionals are on the front line of fraud prevention and investigation, it’s also predictable that family and friends may turn to you for clarification of these fraud-related stories.  

We tapped into that expertise to survey ACFE members on what fraud-related topics they expected to become more visible in public consciousness in 2018. In a survey of the ACFE Advisory Council, cyberattacks (60%), the use of cryptocurrency (44%) and consumer identity theft (43%) were the top three fraud topics anti-fraud professionals anticipated seeing more of in 2018. One respondent, Jennifer Cant, CFE, FCLA, explained, “Cloud computing and cyberattacks are becoming the way of the fraudsters because our field is not yet adept to handle the technological expertise, and be able to conduct a proper investigation, in order to identify and prosecute these fraudsters.”

Another respondent, Dr. Rama Subramaniam, Ph.D., CISM, CISA, weighed in on cryptocurrency. “Information will emerge as a valuable ‘currency’ and most fraudsters will move away from traditional forms of fraud and engage in frauds dealing with information. Cryptocurrencies will add to this trend,” he said.

With an anticipated increase in cyber-related fraud, anti-fraud professionals are also planning on using technology to prevent and investigate those frauds. When asked what tools they thought anti-fraud professionals will use more in 2018 than in previous years, respondents said data analytics (80%), collaboration with the IT department (43%) and artificial intelligence (38%) will be the most prevalent. Additionally, 63% of respondents are planning to budget for, or increasing an existing budget for, data analytics tools in the coming year.

The earlier both the public and other anti-fraud professionals know to be on the lookout for increases in specific types of fraud, the better prepared they will be in protecting themselves and helping organizations put tailored fraud prevention plans in place.