Fraud and Investigative Trends in 2018

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Fraud and Investigative Trends in 2018

As 2018 draws towards its close, George McKillop reviews the trends seen at Haymarket over the year, both in terms of work carried out as well as external practices.

Over the year, Haymarket has seen a substantial increase in client demand for electronic sweeps to detect bugs as well as cyber sweeps to detect hacking or vulnerability.  This includes a hitherto unseen demand for sweeps at private residences as well as commercial premises.   There can be little doubt the trend is driven by the widespread publicity concerning hacking and its consequences in both business and personal lives.

There has also been an increasing demand for investigation of employee fraud, particularly theft of proprietary information in advance of exiting to set up new businesses in competition.  Fortunately, computer forensics and other investigative techniques have identified clear evidence which has put Haymarket’s clients in a strong recovery position.

The demand for fraud audits, using automated and manual techniques, to detect fraud where there was no prior suspiciion, has seen an upward trend.  This is undoubtedly because of the increasing realisation that routine audit consistently fails to detect ongoing fraud.

Another notable and somewhat worrying trend has been the increase in law firms seeking to keep research and investigation work in-house rather than retaining external specialist support.  Clearly there are financial advantages for law firms in following this practice, however, this ignores the fact that lawyers are rarely experienced investigators, nor are they trained in investigative interviewing techniques.  Worst of all, the practice clearly carries an inbuilt risk of solicitors, who have gathered evidence, being called as witnesses and thus being open to cross examination in the witness box – hardly the ideal scenario in a difficult fraud case.

There has also been a massive increase in online and telephone banking fraud with the banks seemingly intent on doing the minimum when their clients find they have been duped into financial loss.  This demands a sea change in thinking on the part of the banks and the authorities with a need for far greater preventive controls and aggressive tracking down of fraudsters who, often working from overseas jurisdictions, carry minimal risk of being caught.

No doubt 2019 will continue to bring serious fraud and risk challenges to industry and to people in their private lives.  While that happens, we at Haymarket will continue to strive to keep ahead of the game in terms of prevention, detection and investigation.   

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