How can technology be used more effectively in the UK to combat fraud?

May 28, 2019

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by Umang Paw Partner

Email +44 (0)7931 304666

by Ronan Magee Senior Manager, Digital & Forensic Investigations

Email +44 (0)7715 211319

In a recent blog, Steve Bewick discussed the findings from PwC’s most recent Global Economic Crime Survey that fewer than 10% of UK respondents were getting value from the technologies they were using to help prevent and detect fraud.

In the digital age in which we live, you would think that technology has a prominent role when investigating and detecting fraud. However, our survey shows that it’s still people who are at the centre of the UK’s most heavily-used fraud detection methods; with fraud risk management techniques (detecting 19% of frauds), internal tip offs and whistleblowing (detecting 16% of frauds) and internal audit (detecting 15% of frauds) coming out top, while detection by data analytics only accounts for 1% of UK frauds. The global average is not much higher, standing at 4%.

But technology can be hugely valuable in investigating and detecting fraud - the survey results only go to demonstrate that we are not making the best use of its potential. Its value is best illustrated by way of an example. We were recently asked to help a client investigate an allegation that some of their employees were receiving cash in hand for providing waste disposal services that were not booked though the official system. The challenge in this case was how to analyse the data from a fleet of over 100 vehicles across a four year period in order to identify where the fraud occurred - or if it had occurred at all.

The traditional approach, which would have taken months, would have involved a manual process, cross referencing global positioning (“GPS”) data with areas of interest provided by the whistleblower. But, as the number of accusations increased, so did the potential error factor and the absence of certainty.

This is where a technology solution really made a difference. Using technology, we were able to analyse over 30 million lines of data, combining and overlaying multiple data sets, such as GPS data, customer address, booking data and known points of interest. The results of the analysis could be plotted within an interactive online mapping service and an automated process identified and highlighted discrepancies that warranted further investigation.

And, as the technology provided detailed visual feedback, the overall investigation time was reduced from an estimated 18 months to around four weeks, with the potential for fraud clearly identified.

This investigation would not have been possible without a technology-enabled solution. It meant we were able to perform the investigation in a more efficient and controlled manner and the investigations team were able to focus on reviewing the priority material rather than wading through vast quantities of irrelevant information.

This is just one example that suggests businesses are missing out on opportunities both to detect anomalies within their existing data that might indicate fraud, while getting a better understanding of their business to improve their commercial decisions.

The data and technologies to investigate fraud are there: now businesses need to get smarter in how they use them.

For more information on this solution, or how to design and adopt technology enabled solutions into your investigations please contact me

by Umang Paw Partner

Email +44 (0)7931 304666

by Ronan Magee Senior Manager, Digital & Forensic Investigations

Email +44 (0)7715 211319