Top Fraud Predictions for 2015: Technology will shape the fight
Posted by LOW Hwan Hong, Year 4 undergrad at the School of Business, Singapore Management University
Technology will give fraudsters an edge in 2015, but it will also provide new tools for organizations and investigators, according to three experts from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) who were asked for their top fraud predictions for 2015.
The experts (Gerald Zack, Bruce Dorris and Jacob Parks) weighed in on digital currencies, information security and other issues that will help shape the effort to prevent and detect fraud in the new year:
1) Technology will increase the sophistication of fraud schemes. This is an existing trend that will accelerate in 2015, according to ACFE Regent Gerard Zack, CFE, Managing Director – Global Forensics for BDO Consulting. “More and more we are reacting to reports of fraud with ‘how did they do that?’, Zack said. “It’s a reflection of schemes becoming more complex and capitalizing on technology, including some of the new technology deployed by companies in the interest of improving efficiency. While simple fraud still exists, we are seeing a distinct proliferation of more complex fraud schemes.”
2) But technology (like data analytics) will also help catch tomorrow’s frauds. Zack is quick to note that for fraudsters, technology is a double-edged sword, as it is leveraged as well by professionals trying to catch criminals. “There will be more breakthroughs in the use of technology to detect fraud – particularly in the use of visual analytics and also in the use of tools to mine unstructured data. Tools that were thought of as cutting edge just a year or two ago will seem ancient in another year or two”, he stated.
3) Improving information security will be a major priority. More massive data breaches, like the ones that have stricken Home Depot, Target Corp. and other large retailers over the past two years, are likely to occur in 2015, according to ACFE Vice President and Program Director Bruce Dorris, J.D., CFE. “These breaches have exposed widespread vulnerabilities among organizations that store and maintain personal information, putting millions of individuals at risk,” Dorris said. “Considering that storage of data continues to grow at an exponential pace, more trouble lays ahead – and there is an increasing need for information security and protecting against data breaches.
4) There will be a re-emergence of financial statement fraud. While Enron, WorldCom and other major financial statement frauds are starting to fade from the public consciousness, there may be more such accounting fraud on the way, according to Zack. One indication is the effort being made by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to step up enforcement in this area.