Technological advances

| January 21, 2016

Technological advances continue to occur at a pace where new devices and operating systems are being released multiple times per year, if not more frequently. Electronic transactions and activity once conducted through file servers, desktop computers, and laptops are migrating over to the world of cellular and wireless.

Transactions such as bank deposits and withdrawals were once limited in the ways each could be completed. First was live, in person, at a bank branch, interacting directly with a live teller. Next came new banking means, such as night drops for deposits and the advent of the ATM machine, followed by debit cards, ACHs, EFTs, and electronic bill pay, each further eliminating the need for paper checks. The most recent banking developments include remote deposit capture (deposits at your desk), scanning and depositing checks right at the ATM, and check truncation (converting paper checks into ACH withdrawals). Most anti-fraud professionals are not necessarily in agreement with the banking technology advances, as they create new means for committing fraud.

Using today’s cellular technology, customers can now take a picture of a check to be deposited and transmit the picture to the bank. The bank never receives or handles the paper check. Using various electronic transfer means available, funds can be easily wired or transferred from an account with no in-person interaction required.

As the technology changes and banking migrates to cellular solutions, logs, files and other electronic evidence that were historically maintained somewhere on a hard drive no longer exist on a hard drive. Cloud-based solutions are eliminating the need for hard drives to store and maintain files. What was historically fairly easy to request and recover as electronic evidence to support a fraud investigation no longer exists, and what does exist may be maintained on a system located in another state or in another country. Private companies storing what data exists may or may not respond to valid subpoenas and search warrants, especially outside the jurisdiction issuing such requests. 

 1. What types of electronic information could generally exist that could prove useful in support of a fraud investigation you are conducting?

  1. What would be potential sources of the electronic information (where would you go to get the identified information)?
  2. Given the alarming rate at which fraud is being committed, do you agree with the direction in which technology is moving and the pace at which it is being implemented, as it relates to minimizing the risks for fraud? Why or why not?
  3. You receive a call from a company that believes its CFO has been committing fraud (stealing) in the business. You have never worked for the company and are not familiar with the company and the suspected CFO.
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  • What could you do to gain an understanding and to learn things about the company as well as the CFO?
  • What types of information could exist electronically that could help you in your background investigation into the call received?
  • What steps or measures could you perform (specific searches and sites) to gain electronic information about the company and the CFO (as well as other key players within the company)?

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