Data Analysis Techniques for Fraud Examiners (Online Self-Study)

Data Analysis Techniques for Fraud Examiners

CPE Credit: 4
Course Level: Overview
Prerequisite: None


Data analysis is a powerful tool for fraud examiners. By searching for patterns, anomalies, trends and outliers, you might discover a cleverly hidden scheme. A skillful fraudster is adept at covering his tracks. However, data analytics empowers you to uncover even the most thoroughly shrouded fraud. Furthermore, data analytics can be used to continuously monitor an organization so that red flags of fraud are discovered and investigated as soon as they occur.

This course will introduce you to the basics of using data analysis to uncover fraud. You will work through several interactive examples to illustrate simple analysis techniques. With these examples, you will learn how to perform a variety of tests and interpret the results to identify common red flags of fraud.


 You will learn how to:

Describe the four phases of the data analysis process and why it is important to have a
formal process

Identify common red flags that appear in fraudulent data

Select the appropriate data analysis tools for a particular investigation

List fundamental data analysis techniques that can be applied to almost any investigation

Determine data analysis techniques to use depending on the type of fraud scheme
under investigation

Evaluate unstructured data, such as text, for signs of fraud


Preview Course 


Field of study: Auditing

Last updated: May 2013


ACFE Ordering and Return Policy 


Please note: To be eligible for CPE credit, you must complete the final exam within one year of purchase date. You may only claim CPE credit for a course once. 

Table of Contents: 


Lesson 1: Introduction

Lesson 2: What is Data Analysis?

Lesson 3: Why Do We Use Data Analytics to Detect Fraud?

Lesson 4: Challenges of Using Data Analytics to Detect Fraud

Lesson 5: The Planning Phase

Lesson 6: The Preparation Phase

Lesson 7: The Testing and Interpretation Phase

Lesson 8: The Post-Analysis Phase

Lesson 9: Basic Analytical Procedures

Lesson 10: Billing Schemes

Lesson 11: Check Tampering Schemes

Lesson 12: Payroll Schemes

Lesson 13: Expense Reimbursement Schemes

Lesson 14: Theft of Cash Receipts

Lesson 15: Inventory Schemes

Lesson 16: Corruption Schemes

Lesson 17: Financial Statement Fraud Schemes

Lesson 18: Ratio Analysis

Lesson 19: Benford's Law

Lesson 20: Textual Analytics

Lesson 21: Conclusion


ACFE online self-study courses feature:

24/7 access to courses through your Internet browser
Save time and quickly earn CPE credits with instant access, grading and printable certificate
The flexibility to start or stop a course and pick-up right where you left off
No additional shipping fees 

Learn more about accessing your online self-study course.

Learn more about online self-study courses and their features.


System requirements:


Internet access: High-speed connection recommended

Free Adobe Flash Player 

Speakers required for video sound

Online Self-Study Troubleshooting Guide:

Problem: When I attempt to access my courses from “My Online Learning,” the course never launches, or I receive an error message saying my pop-up blocker needs to be turned off.

Solution: Your web browser must be configured to allow pop-ups in order to access ACFE Self-Study courses. Your browser may prompt you to allow pop-ups, or you may have to allow them manually. You may either allow them for all sites, or allow them just for the current site.

For information on how to manage your pop-up blocker settings in a specific browser, click the link below that corresponds to the browser you are using:

  Internet Explorer
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Also note that many toolbars, such as the Google Toolbar and Yahoo! include pop-up blockers as well. If you have one or more toolbars installed on your browser with built-in pop-up blockers, you must configure them to allow pop-ups.

Problem: When I click on a course from “My Online Learning,” I am presented with a login page, but my username and password won’t allow me to log in.

Solution: You do not have to log in a second time to access your online self-study. You most likely reached the login page because you clicked the link labeled “Click Here” as shown below:


  Online SS Image Absorb Error 


Do not click that link; instead, allow your browser to automatically open the eLearning window on its own, which should happen after a few seconds. This will log you in automatically so that you can access your online courses.


Problem: I receive the following error when I try to load a different lesson with a course:


  SS Online API Error 


Solution: This occurs in Internet Explorer when trying to load a different lesson without closing the current lesson. This error can be avoided two different ways:


Always close the current lesson before going to another one. Always click the Close Window button (usually the red “X” in the upper right corner) of the current lesson before clicking on another lesson.

Use a different browser. This error seems to only occur in Internet Explorer, so using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome should resolve the issue (see below for links to download either of these browsers).

Other Troubleshooting Tips: If you encounter other errors, such as courses freezing or crashing, we recommend taking the following action:

Try a different browser. ACFE online self-study courses are designed to run on all modern web browsers, but if you encounter a problem that is not solved using one of the suggestions above, you can try using a different web browser to see if it eliminates the problem. We have most frequently seen where using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome has resolved an issue that was seen in Internet Explorer.

Mozilla Firefox can be downloaded here
Google Chrome can be downloaded here 


Make sure you are running the latest version of Flash. Go to to see what version of Flash you are running, and then compare that to the table on that page to see what the latest version is for your operating system/browser combination. If you are not running the newest version, you should upgrade and see if that resolves the problem.