Government Data Detectives

Billion Photos/

A special report on how agency data shops are fighting fraud.

Data has always been an important tool in federal fraud investigations, but since the advent of modern analytics, it’s become the star of the show. Today, advanced analytics tools enable investigators to quickly spot the most egregious fraudsters scamming the government, and audit shops increasingly see data analytics as the way to get the most bang for their buck.

Agencies have for years collected troves of information on the claims and benefits they pay out, but, until recently, spotting potential scammers within that mass of data was exceedingly difficult. Audit shops lacked the tools to detect underlying patterns of suspicious activity, so investigations often picked off fraudsters one by one rather than dealing with them comprehensively.

And agencies are seeing that when auditors make the best use of their time, it pays off in spades.

The Health and Human Services Department detected $1.3 billion moving through a an insurance fraud ring. The U.S. Postal Service recovered $121 million in fines and restitution last year and the IRS stopped billions from being paid in fraudulent returns in one tax season.

When it comes to fraud, waste and abuse investigations, data analytics provides two major benefits: efficiency and scalability. This special report looks at the tools, talent and hurdles agencies face when setting up their own programs.

Download this free special report here.