Cyberattacks like the recent ransomware attack against Colonial Pipeline which shut down one of the nation’s largest gasoline pipelines and caused long lines at gas station pumps are newsworthy and they are certainly a threat to any company today. But the biggest threat to your company may be within your company in terms of employee misconduct and fraud.

In our post Mobile Device Forensic Discovery: Here’s a Case That Illustrates the Importance a Case that Illustrates the Importance, we discussed a case involving misappropriation of trade secrets claims against two former employees of the plaintiff. Misappropriation of trade secrets is just one of the potential types of employee misconduct and fraud to be concerned about – here are several others:

“Preserving and analyzing data patterns, transfers and communications is key to being able to uncover cases of employee misconduct and fraud as early as possible.”

  • Being consistently late to work and/or meetings.

  • Intentional destruction of company hardware and property.

  • Publishing confidential information publicly.

  • Harassing co-workers through messages such as text, email, voicemail, company team collaboration software from company workstation, personal computer or personal cell phone.

  • Gaming, day trading or conducting a side business on company time and equipment.

  • Viewing pornographic material on company time and equipment.

  • Slandering the reputation of the company.

  • Engaging in bribery and corruption.

  • Embezzlement of company funds.

Recent Fraud Trends

In September 2020, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners published the results of a survey of certified fraud examiners. The survey notes that 77% of respondents observed an increase in the overall level of fraud and a whopping 92% expect to see an additional increase in the overall level of fraud during the next year.  Here are some other findings:

  • 41% of respondents observed an increase in financial statement fraud, with 72% anticipating an additional increase during the next year;

  • 49% of respondents observed an increase in bribery and corruption, with 70% anticipating an additional increase during the next year; and

  • 42% of respondents observed an increase in employee embezzlement, with nearly three-quarters (73%) expecting an additional increase over the next year.

Recent Sexual Harassment Trends

Sexual harassment is another growing concern of companies today.  Recent statistics show that 69% of women have been sexually harassed in a professional setting and 57% of employees have left a job because of their manager.

That has led to a lot of legislation to hold organizations accountable.  In a recent 30-month period, elected officials in a number of states passed over 260 laws directly addressing topics supported by the anti-sexual harassment initiatives. Many of the proposals related to the actions of legislators and government employees, but some were directed towards all employers or private sector employers specifically.

The Importance of Forensic Investigation to Identify Employee Misconduct

When it comes to identifying many of these cases of employee misconduct and fraud, a lot of the evidence comes from data associated with the company and the employees of the company. Preserving and analyzing data patterns, transfers and communications is key to being able to uncover cases of employee misconduct and fraud as early as possible. That’s where the evidence lives.

When you suspect employee misconduct in your company, it’s important to engage an experienced forensic investigations specialist to perform an investigation of those data patterns to uncover pertinent evidence. Using specific and specialized software, the digital forensics firm can identify digital evidence and a critical timeline through a variety of obscure sources including USB flash drives, USB hard drives, SD cards, Cell Phones with cameras, files recently accessed, cloud storage locations such as Google One Drive, Dropbox, emails sent from their corporate email account or another employee’s email account to a personal email accounts, internet search activity, and recently printed documents.

Conclusion

Employee misconduct and fraud are on the rise and employees looking to hide those activities will take steps to try to conceal their actions. But the data doesn’t lie. An experienced forensic investigations specialist can flush out the data patterns that exposes their misconduct and reduce or eliminate perhaps the biggest threat to your company.

For more information about Forensic Discovery’s Computer Forensics services, click here.

Published On: June 9th, 2021 / Categories: Expert Consulting and Testimony, Investigations /

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