Technologies on the horizon

By Jeremy Clopton, CFE, CPA; Les E. Heitger, Ph.D., Educator Associate; Lanny Morrow, EnCE
jeremy-clopton lanny-morrow les-heitger

Fraud EDge: A forum for fraud-fighting faculty in higher ed

In our first "Fraud EDge" column in this series we discussed how essential it is for all fraud examiners to be cognizant of the many potentially useful technologies that are effective in fraud examinations. In our first four columns, we explored the cutting edge of high tech in the fight against fraud — from the exploration of how natural language processing can extract names from unstructured text for the construction of complex relationship maps, to how underlying emotional tones in written communications help detect deception before a single email is even read. The columns have also illustrated how artificial intelligence can enhance human intelligence to achieve intelligence augmentation.

In this column we share our view of some new technologies that have the most promise of providing major value to future fraud examiners. We also discuss the significant role colleges and universities must play in educating professional fraud examiners of the future. Colleges and universities have unique and excellent opportunities to provide students with the functional and technical knowledge and skills they need to successfully compete in the professional world. — Les E. Heitger, Ph.D., Educator Associate


The most common fraud analytics tools fraud examiners use focus on data extraction, analysis, visualization and keyword-search based tools for unstructured data. Software companies design these technologies for examiners who don't have information technology backgrounds. Therefore, organizations of all sizes have adopted fraud analytics and digital forensics — tools previously only available through experts.

Fraud examiners still need help to implement the concepts we discussed in the previous columns. However, many of the current stand-alone technologies are becoming integrated into single-source solutions that encompass all the uses we've listed.


Tackling a topic about the future of technology is difficult. We can easily veer off into what appears to be pure science fiction. Regardless, two seemingly unattainable technologies — intelligence augmentation (using technology to enhance human abilities) and detecting fraud via emotional tones — fall into this category. However, fraud examiners haven't universally adopted them so they might be considered "future tech" for some.

Here we'll focus on two emerging concepts sure to influence the future of fraud examinations: cognitive analytics and the "Internet of Things."


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