Companies Failing to Use Technology to Fight Fraud

While an increasing number of malicious actors are using technology to perpetrate fraud, the vast majority of companies are not using the technological resources available to fight it. According to KPMG’s new report Global Profiles of the Fraudster, technology significantly enabled 29% of the 110 fraudsters analyzed in North America and 24% of the 750 fraudsters analyzed worldwide. What’s more, 25% of frauds that hinged on the use of technology were detected by accident rather than safeguards or analytics, compared to just 10% spotted by accident in cases where the criminals did not use technology.

Indeed, proactive data analytics was not the primary means of detection in any North American cases and was only used to detect 3% of fraudsters worldwide. In North America, the most common means of detecting fraud were: tip offs and complaints, management review, accidentally, suspicious superiors and internal audit.

KPMG found that weak internal controls contributed to 59% of frauds in North America. Companies are failing to focus on strengthening controls, the firm reported, despite the increasing threat of newer types of frauds, such as cyber fraud and continued traditional forms of wrongdoing.

“In addition to ensuring internal controls are thoughtfully designed, companies should deploy effective training and instill a culture of integrity so that controls are properly executed,” said Phillip Ostwalt, partner and Global Investigations Network Leader at KPMG LLP. “Companies should also adopt new controls as their risk profiles change. Ongoing risk assessments can help cost-constrained companies ensure they are properly investing in such controls.”

Who are these fraudsters?

  • 65% are between ages 36 and 55
  • 39% are employed by the victim organization for over six years, most in operations, finance or office of the chief executive
  • 42% operate in groups and 52% of collusive frauds involved external parties

Check out the infographic below for more of the study’s findings:

Profiles of the Fraudster InfographicFraudster Infographic Women

Who’s Committing Economic Crime?

According to a recent survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, economic crime is on the rise, particularly in the United States. Of organizations in the U.S., 45% suffered from some type of fraud in the past two years, compared to the global average of 37%. Further, 23% of companies that reported economic crime experienced accounting fraud, up from 16% in 2011.

So who is committing these crimes?

External perpetrators are on the rise, closing the gap with internal perpetrators — it’s now 45% versus 50%, respectively. But the profile of these internal actors has changed since the last survey in 2011. Now, most internal frauds are perpetrated by middle management (54%, compared to 45% in 2011), and fraud by junior staff has dropped by almost half, now totaling 31%. The typical internal fraudster is now a white male in middle management, age 31-40, who has been with the company for six years or more.

Internal Fraudster Profile

In good news, PwC also found that awareness of risk is higher among U.S. companies, for example, seven out of 10 American respondents perceived an increased risk of cybercrime in the last two years, compared to just under half globally. The C-suite is also increasingly getting the message about the risk of economic crime:

C-Suite and Economic Crime

For more details on the 2014 Global Economic Crime Survey, check out the report from PwC here.