How will digitalisation change the face of white-collar crime and its detection?

ASCO /EXPERTsuisse market study 2021

Article of Matthias Kiener, head of forensic, in the market survey ASCO / EXPERTsuisse 2021

The rapid technological development of recent years offers both white-collar criminals and those who investigate and uncover cases of white-collar crime a diverse range of new alternatives. The use of new technologies makes it possible to commit fraud that can reach unprecedented dimensions in terms of the extent of the damage and the difficulty of investigation.

Blockchain technology, for example, is now considered to be extremely resistant to fraud. It is a technology that leaves hardly any room for fraudulent activities.

It should be borne in mind that the use of blockchain in companies is not yet widespread. Furthermore, blockchain technology is not capable of independently recording the context of a transaction in order to recognise whether a fraudulent act is involved.

Even with the use of blockchain, the dependency and connection to the real world remains. Information must still come from a trusted source and transactions must be formally authorised by actors acting correctly.

Other technologies, such as artificial intelligence or Robotic Process Automation (RPA), could also be used specifically by fraudsters to commit economic crimes in the future. Since these systems do not learn independently, but use algorithms programmed by humans, it can be assumed that algorithms will also be used specifically in the near future to commit economic crimes on a large scale.

In order to be able to investigate and uncover delicts committed using the new technologies in the future, investigators will be forced to actively engage with these new technological possibilities for fraud prevention and detection.

Already today, a large number of companies are using targeted data analytics for ongoing monitoring to identify anomalies in business transactions. This more traditional approach is increasingly being replaced in corporate practice by new approaches such as data visualisation, predictive analytics or artificial intelligence.

With this rapidly changing technological environment and the new opportunities it presents, fraud investigators will need to be even more innovative in the future to get to the bottom of fraudsters in order to stop them.

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