Getting to know what a person thinks has always been fascinating in the fraud examination process. And this information can be especially useful while investigating fraud. They might express their feelings through social media sites, forums, blogs and even emails.
Fraud examination consultants are beginning to gather and analyze this type of data in investigations. This effective technique in detecting fraud is called sentiment analysis.
What is sentiment analysis?
Sentiment relates to a person’s feelings, attitudes, and opinions. Fraud experts utilize this analytical tool that involves creating a system to analyze documents and other data to examine the authors’ emotions and opinions. It deals on identifying what people think or feel about a particular thing. This type of investigation can assist fraud examiners in revealing existing fraud structures. To add, it aids as a trending tool to look at areas of concern that might indicate individuals at risk for suspicious or fraudulent behaviour.
Existing methodologies to sentiment analysis can be grouped as Keyword spotting, Lexical affinity, Statistical methods & Concept-level techniques.
In short, Sentiment Analysis is the process of detecting the contextual polarity of text.
How can it be utilised to detect fraud?
Sentiment analysis includes a process called keyword spotting that includes developing a list of keywords that relate to a certain sentiment. These words, known as affect words, are usually positive or negative adjectives because such words can be strong indicators of sentiment.
Fraud examiners search for affect words in employee emails or other communications as part of their fraud detection procedures. For example, a fraud examiner might receive a clue that a manager is manipulating his division’s reported sales to meet company quotas. In evaluating the merit of the clue, the examiner might run a list of keywords —flexible, unreasonable, temporary and worried — against the alleged party’s emails and, if there are positive results investigate the issues further.
Sentiment analysis using negative keywords can also identify potentially discontented employees. Fraud examiners can identify cautionary signs of fraud by searching for negative keywords. When preparing a keyword list, fraud examiners should include swear and slang words because these can carry strong emotion. Fraudsters might also use acronyms in attempts to hide their fraud schemes.
While sentiment analysis is a great analytical tool, some cautions must be taken with its use. As with all investigative techniques, fraud examiners should gather complete evidence before coming to conclusions.
Once emails or documents are flagged based on keywords, the fraud examiner must still investigate further to determine if a fraud did occur.
Furthermore, employee privacy rights in certain authorities might limit the ability to conduct sentiment analysis techniques on some types of employee communications, so fraud examiners should always consult legal counsel regarding any legal restrictions before undertaking any analysis of this type. Where such analysis is legally allowed, fraud examiners should ensure that the company has a policy stating that emails and other correspondence are company property and can be reviewed by the company at any point in time.
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