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Online Fraud On The Up – 29 October 2013

Member: Nifa

According to new research more than 230,000 frauds were recorded in England and Wales in the year to June, which represents an increase of more than a fifth on the previous 12 months and a 59 per cent increase in five years. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that a further 316 frauds were recorded by banks and other industry bodies meaning that the total committed in the 12-month period was likely to be well over half a million, although the ONS warned the two figures may have overlapped.

The details appeared to confirm that criminals are abandoning crimes such as burglary in favour of identity theft and online fraud, which carries less risk of being caught. Having said that, all online activity leaves a footprint, which is something that an experienced forensic accountant can track using their suite of specialist software, from examining computerised records to creating virtual machines when the real things have been seized as part of an investigation. Forensic accountants are hired by insurance companies, banks, or employers to analyse financial evidence and show whether financial records point to any illegal activity.

They may study all manner of computer records, from bank accounts, to pension plans, investments or any other type of financial setup in order to track money and payments. However, they may also be called on by individuals accused of fraud to prove their innocence, as footprints can lead in more than one direction. Having established a case on either side, the forensic accountants may then be called to testify in court as expert witnesses, which means that they must also be up-to-date on legal concepts and procedures.

Author: Roger Isaacs, 29 October 2013

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