Ben, the fraud team’s data analytics specialist, has been with Veritau for five years. A large part of his job is working with specialist software IDEA, computer aided auditing tool that allows a trained user to analyse large and complex sets of data. Ben was given a lot of independence with the software to explore how it worked and how Veritau could develop this area to provide greater assurance.

After teaching himself much of the software, he attended formal training and became a Certified IDEA Data Analyst. He also took an advanced course in scripting and now writes scripts for high-level data analysis, cleansing, and manipulation. 

Using data analytics to fight fraud

Having studied Theoretical Physics at university, Ben was attracted to the scientific and analytical side of the job. He found that he had many transferrable skills from physics in statistical analysis; writing programs to generate data, and writing more programs to take the data apart.

During his time as a trainee, Ben studied for the Professionally Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist qualification. He really enjoyed this course, especially the legal side.

A typical fraud case might not require the use of data analytics but many complex cases come our way, which require a staff member trained to use IDEA. Ben is an expert in the software and was given the role to lead the IDEA team alongside a colleague from the audit team. Veritau’s IDEA group are highly trained in the software and engage in any work required for audits, investigations, or other projects.

Investigators from the fraud team go to Ben, or another member of the IDEA team, when they have a complex investigation involving structured data. This could be masses of financial records, where evidence shows a claimant has more bank accounts or savings than they declared, or it could be intricate data of vital importance to a case involving a staff member, such as door logs or IT login information.

IDEA is also used for data matching projects. The team has run several exercises which found high-level fraud and recovered savings for our clients, such as matching Single Person Discount data to other council records to find discrepancies. 

Ben’s favourite parts of the job are the problem-solving elements; trying to gather evidence for an investigation, and finding the best ways to analyse data to make it make sense. He also enjoys helping others with the software and teaching them to make sense of large data sets.

There has been keen interest from the different teams at Veritau of new members wanting to join the IDEA team and train to use the software. 

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