International Fraud Awareness Week officially kicks off this Sunday, November 11. As a dedicated time to spread fraud awareness, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to reach out to members in your community to educate them about fraud and what you do as an anti-fraud professional.Read More
Whether donating to a natural disaster fund, a Go Fund Me page or even giving to an organization you know well, there is always a risk for fraud. During this year’s Charity Fraud Awareness Week, happening October 22-26, we would like to offer some of the best tips we have come across over the past few years in regards to charity fraud.Read More
Mandy Moody, CFE
ACFE Content Manager
The ACFE would like to thank all International Fraud Awareness Week Official Supporters, supporting media, bloggers, tweeters and social media posters for their amazing participation in Fraud Week.
We would also like to thank our Fraud Week Ambassadors this year: Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority, Loomis, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Virgin Media, Calpine, Magellan Health, Voya Financial, UAE Banks Federation, Maersk, Kenaga, Mashreq Bank, Oman Insurance Company, Orange, Standard Chartered and Millicom. The success of Fraud Week could not have happened without all of these dedicated people working together around the globe to spread the message that fraud can be prevented and detected.
Even with the many articles and resources shared, you might not have seen all that was done to highlight fraud detection and prevention. Here are some Fraud Week highlights you might have missed:
- Video - Fraud Week video, Cerebra CPAs and Advisory, Turkey
- Instagram Graphic - Password Tip Instagram post, 1st Choice Savings and Credit Union, Alberta, Canada
- Phishing Explainer Photos - Sun Coast Credit Union, Florida, U.S.
- E-Book - Are your fraud operations ready for digital banking fraud? NetGuardians, Switzerland
- Article - Best practices for stopping contract and procurement fraud, SAS, U.S.
- Events - Check out all of the events, from Facebook Live sessions to workouts, that happened all over the world this week, ACFE
Remember, fraud awareness doesn't begin and end with Fraud Week. It is a year-round effort being supported by fraud examiners all over the world. Thank you all again, and we look forward to next year’s event!
Kelly Todd, CFE
Managing member and member in charge of forensic investigations at Forensic Strategic Solutions
A quick glance at the barrage of headline news related to cyberattacks, the perpetual explosion of electronically stored information and the ease with which data can be moved and shared makes one thing obvious: a new frontier has emerged for businesses. In this dynamic electronic age, the scope of risk for businesses is growing — in size and complexity — at such a rate that traditional risk management measures are simply not enough. While the “new frontier” has the potential to leave unsuspecting businesses exposed to a host of new risks, it is also creating a host of opportunities for those of us fighting fraud.
Threat: The Trusted Employee
Frauds committed through the use of a computer and its network is one of the fastest growing threats for businesses. According to Ernst & Young’s 2016 Global Forensic Data Analytics Survey, nine out of nine industries rate the threat of a cyberbreach as a their top risk. While the latest news focuses on hackers and cybercriminals, there is an equally dangerous, but perhaps less obvious, threat to corporate assets. While trusted employees are moving, sharing and exposing corporate data just to do their jobs, the malicious employee or contractor with authorized access may be deliberately taking confidential information for personal gain or other nefarious reasons. Whether internal or external, the threat posed by these cybercriminals is real. Threats include the disruption of operations, the wrongful transfer of funds and the theft of intellectual property, confidential information or other critical assets.
Tools to Respond: Data Analytics
The dynamic nature of technology threats requires a proactive response. While external auditors and C-suite executives have long been reluctant to embrace advanced data analytics as a proactive tool — or even as a reactive tool — to ferret out fraud, the tide seems to be turning with the increased threat that cybercrime poses.
Advanced data analytics provide the ability to collect and analyze data, both structured (think transactional data) and unstructured (email, voicemail, internet logs, text messages, social media, blogs or free text fields in a database), to prevent, detect, monitor and investigate potentially improper transactions, events or patterns of behavior related to misconduct, fraud or noncompliance issues.
As fraud examiners, we know a picture says a thousand words — and nothing tells a story better than data. The use of data visualization tools is on the rise for business intelligence, as well as detecting patterns and relationships indicative of fraud. With the explosion of electronic data, data visualization allows for communicating key aspects of complex and voluminous data in a more intuitive way. Effective visualization — which is both an art and a science — combined with advanced data analytics helps users identify patterns and relationships.
With the increased acceptance of advanced data analytics — not to mention emerging technologies, such as blockchain (a topic that goes well beyond the scope of this blog) — dramatic opportunities abound for fraud examiners.
Valuable skills for the new frontier include:
- The technical skills to understand the information systems and how to collect relevant and reliable data.
- An expertise in data analytics to relate data from disparate systems, design queries, recognize patterns, interpret and report on results.
- Institutional knowledge or investigative skills to understand the relevant risks and controls, and to collaborate in the interpretation of results in the context of the associated risks.
As risks continue to grow in the industry, staying up-to-date with the latest tools and resources will be critical. As we look to spread knowledge during International Fraud Awareness Week, it’s also crucial that as fraud professionals we commit ourselves to continuing our education. The biggest fraud risks are the ones we are not yet aware of, but with the right tools and expertise we can be better prepared to respond.
Mandy Moody, CFE
ACFE Content Manager
According the the ACFE's latest Benchmarking Report for in-house investigation teams, the majority of fraud investigation teams (60%) take one month to close a case. But, as we all know, each case is different. Some can take six weeks to close and some can take six years. For this year's International Fraud Awareness Week, happening this week, we wanted to share a few of your colleagues most memorable cases. Let us celebrate the hard work and time you put in to each and every case you work on, and hear about why some cases will never be forgotten.
“Usually our audits are done after end of year. There was one occasion, however, where we undertook a real-time audit during a national emergency and exposed high levels of fraud and misappropriation of assets. The report was widely publicized and led to parliamentary scrutiny, which was aired live on national television for the first time in our history. In an unprecedented move, high-ranking public servants were suspended without pay for six months and recoveries of monies lost in taxes and undelivered goods were recovered.”
- Adama Renner, CFE, FCA, Deputy Audit General, Audit Service, Sierra Leone
“I’d say the one that I was most proud of was a simple travel and expense case. The company asked us for help on an investigation into an executive assistant (EA) who was using the bosses’ (there were multiple that this EA worked for) credit cards in a fraudulent manner — purchasing personal items, taking trips with friends, that type of thing. All in all it was a straightforward case, but what I was so proud of was when we finished going through all the supporting documentation, it was handed over to the general counsel, who in turn gave it to the police. When we got an update on what happened, we were told the police thanked them for wrapping it up in a nice little bow because it made the prosecution extremely easy. I guess it’s the simple things in life sometimes!”
- Michael D’Alessandro, CFE, CPA, Corporate Risk and Compliance Manager, Sony Corporation of America
“After moving to London in 2005, I worked at the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat, an intergovernmental organization. It provides technical assistance in the promotion of the rule of law and good governance with a focus on sharing best practices and capacity building. I oversaw the organization of international anti-corruption and counter-terrorism conferences and training sessions in London, Jamaica and Malaysia. This entailed close collaboration with a highly diverse range of subject matter experts, including those at Scotland Yard, as well as government officials, criminal law experts and policy researchers in various nations. We worked towards very tight deadlines across three time zones, two of which were at the opposing ends of the globe. It was equally challenging, thrilling and rewarding. Germany is not a member of the Commonwealth, which meant I could only hold a temporary position (and was the only German), but having the opportunity to work with those high-caliber passionate fraud fighters and senior lawyers was deeply inspiring and presented a lasting influence.”
- Britta Bohlinger, CFE, MA, BSc, Founding Director, RisikoKlár
Find more stories like these, as well as free videos, infographics and more at FraudWeek.com.