By: Frans Triegaardt, Forensic Director, KPMG in South Africa

From intentionally erased emails to deleted SMSes; through techniques using forensic technology, no one should get away with fraud. Forensic technology is one of the most important aspects of forensic investigations and is recognised as a crucial stakeholder to law enforcement.

As technology permeates every aspect of our lives, it is no wonder that solving crimes has become almost futuristic in its advances. In fact, some people still find it hard to believe that forensic technology techniques are actually putting people behind bars, but the truth is that there are a number of incredibly amazing forensic technologies that you probably never knew existed.

Unfortunately for the criminals, but fortunately for the law, lacking the above mentioned knowledge has been the downfall of many fraudsters because – for the longest time – their rationalisation is that they can get away with it.

It is true that the changing nature of business has created new opportunities, but also new risks and potential threats, including but not limited to:

  • The increasing sophistication of fraud, organised crime and terrorism, more complex legislation and regulations, some with increasing extra-territorial reach
  • Developing challenges around technology
  • Complex cross-border disputes
  • Pitfalls from expanding into emerging markets
  • Dependencies on unfamiliar business partners and more complex supply and distribution channels;
  • Theft and misuse of intellectual property

Forensic technology as the solution

If companies want to avoid losing money to fraud, they need to have proper measures in place and engage with reputable service providers that can render credible and sustainable technology solutions in a professional manner.

It is important to engage with a team that is able to respond to crises caused by white-collar crime quickly, efficiently and with a solutions-orientated mind-set. Dealing with allegations of fraud, misconduct or other improprieties, such as violations of laws, regulations or organisational policies, has become mission critical for businesses. That’s why it is important for companies to ask themselves; what is it that they see, can see, or think they can see?

Failing to have correct measures in place to deal with fraud might hinder financial growth and negatively affect stakeholder confidence for organisations. Therefore, adequate measures must be in place and appropriate provisions must be made to discipline guilty parties accordingly.

Organisations may however lack the resources with the right skills to proficiently conduct cost-effective and objective investigations. As fraud and misconduct siphons billions each year from organisations worldwide, damages reputations and puts public trust in the marketplace at risk, boards and management at all levels are obliged to rapidly address such matters.

Through detailed inquiries and examinations, including the use of leading data analytic techniques, we believe that there must be impartial means to establish truths, evaluate implications, identify appropriate remedial actions, submit restatements if necessary and communicate with regulators or external auditors if needed. This may need to be done for Legal counsel, Executives, Audit and special committees.

Organisations that effectively monitor and swiftly respond to potentially damaging situations or fraudulent incidents are better placed to deal with potential repercussions, thereby reducing adverse financial, reputational or operational impact. And, if you have the right partner; who can provide robust and practical advice on all forms of investigations, misconduct and disputes resolutions, overall compliance best practices and, can deploy technology tools to aid you in dealing with large amounts of data and documents for detecting and preventing fraud effectively – we can confidently assert that no one should get away with fraud in your organisation.

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