Fear Not the Software

Fraud Fighting with Data Analysis Tools: Fear Not the Data Either


Obtaining data is one of the main hurdles to using proactive fraud data analysis. But it doesn't need to be that way. By using a simple process, as explained in this column, anyone can obtain data files without an advanced computer degree. Here are three key steps to keep in mind when getting data files:

  1. Be clear on what you want.
  2. Jump over any hurdles imposed by the client.
  3. Import and then ensure you got what you asked for in the first place.

1. Be clear on what you want

The worst mistake made by fraud examiners when requesting data is to ask for the entire set of data files in a given area. For example, the examiner may want to look for billing schemes (such as phony companies for passing through employee-sponsored fraudulent invoices) in the accounts payable area. One approach is to ask for the entire invoice, check, and vendor master files. While this is comprehensive in approach, it usually leads to “TMI” (too much information) so that the examiner gets lost and subsequently can't make even one useful report.

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