The ACFE’s Global Fraud Conference is the best place I’ve found to gain technical knowledge, which helps me develop ideas related to recognizing emerging future fraud risks. It also provides me with a boost of positive energy to fuel my passion to fight fraud. The following are key takeaways from this year’s conference:
- The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists database, commonly referred to as the Panama Papers, can be a useful tool for investigators to identify assets, determine relationships, and perform due diligence. David Weber shared his connection to the Panama Papers, along with some ways to use the database. As with any tool, the more you use it, the more useful it becomes. I will also warn you that it can also become habit forming if you’re not careful.
- Eugene Soltes shared some highlights from his research and book, Why They Do It. His curiosity about the white-collar criminal mindset led him to write letters to convicted fraudsters, which started conversations about why they committed fraud. His research affirms that most white-collar criminals become fraudsters without even realizing it is happening.
- Eric O’Neill shared his story about bringing down Robert Hanssen, an FBI agent who turned Russian spy. The story was Hollywood worthy, and in 2007, Universal Pictures released the movie Breach. O’Neill connected his story of espionage to the future—hackers and data breaches. The risks go far beyond foreign countries hacking into political leaders’ Gmail accounts. Hackers are the new spies, and their attacks will become more frequent with increased complexity. Technology, people, and processes are the three ways to combat these threats. But, don’t forget that people can also be your weakest link.
- Vendor fraud is a risk area for every organization. In Emily Irving’s session, she encouraged organizations to integrate fraud examiners into third-party risk governance. Essentially, organizations should perform due diligence procedures on potential vendors prior to starting the relationship, and as necessary, additional procedures should be performed as the relationship with the vendor changes. We all know that being proactive is better than being reactive.
- The last, but not least, takeaway was a session that focused on data. Paul Starrett shared his passion about data science. He walked through how data science is used in the electronic document discovery process in litigation. From a technical aspect, I enjoyed this session the most.
I hope these key takeaways will empower you to seek out and fight fraud in the future. If you attended this year’s conference, please share your top takeaways with me by email or comment on this post.
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