Lawyer Monthly - November 2022

64 LAWYERMONTHLYNOVEMBER 2022 Why does digitisation make fraud investigations more challenging? The digitisation of work is challenging in that it has created a huge volume of structured and unstructured data for investigators to trawl through. In particular, remote work triggered the ubiquitous use of unified collaboration and communication tools. In 2021, Gartner’s Digital Worker Experience Survey found nearly 80% of workers using collaboration tools, up from just over 50% in 2019. Today, businesses communicate internally and externally across an ever-expanding range of communications vectors, including dozens of team chat apps depending on the region. Take Hong Kong as an example: the region is quite diverse in its chat preferences, so investigators need to deal with many different chat applications with regional nuances around favourite platforms, such as Telegram in Hong Kong, WeChat in China, WhatsApp in Singapore, Line in Japan and KakaoTalk in Korea. The widespread use of personal devices via Bring Your Own Device policies also means personal and business communications have become intermingled with an employee’s personal data. Today, investigators frequently come up against cases where employees are using non-enterprise versions of chat applications and personal accounts for business use. We must also assume that people have more than one phone – and their other one is likely a ‘burner’ used for communications they want to hide from their employer. To meet the new demands of fraud investigation, we have had to uplift our capabilities in remote mobile data collection, including chat images and audio files. Right now, we cover 98.6% of mobile devices, including various Chinese brands, using specific local software. We also offer a full forensic analysis of mobile devices to extract hidden and deleted files and uncover insights in relation to call logs, geolocation, deletion analysis and internet search history. To handle the oceans of data uncovered in an investigation, we use eDiscovery and investigations platforms. These technologies enable capabilities like image conversion, auto-redaction, text indexes for keyword searches and unified metadata fields, where electronic files can be tagged with information such as document date, custodian, or evidence ID. In addition, mobile chat data can be pulled into our document review platforms, and we use machine learning tools to grasp communication topics and timelines. What type of disciplines do you need for a successful fraud investigation? When working with legal teams, our job has always been to answer: ‘Who?’ ‘What?’ The best teams work collaboratively, using their disparate skills to run down lines of enquiry and secure robust evidence.

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