A hypothesis is an assumption made from something, usually data or information, that serves as the basis for starting an investigation. We can have many hypotheses and the quality of each of them will depend on the experience and knowledge of the people who generate them.
The purpose of having a hypothesis is to find an answer to a question, in this case about a fraud
In order to be able to answer the question, we must gather as much data as we can and convert it into information that will help us resolve the hypothesis. This does not necessarily indicate that fraud is being committed, but also the opposite, that fraud is not being committed.
The hypothesis and forensic analysis
Anticipating a forensic process, fraud investigators must create the hypotheses of the investigated case, in such a way that ideas emerge from the paths to its resolution that allow expanding the spectrum of possibilities in terms of acquiring digital evidence from various sources. The entire investigative team must have critical thinking that ensures that all options, including the possibility of innocence of the alleged perpetrator, are on the table.
The elaboration of many hypotheses allows covering a wide range of possibilities for the acquisition of evidence, however, it is important that many of these hypotheses are refined by the team of researchers to focus on the most rational ones.
How hypotheses are resolved
Once the hypotheses of the event have been refined, certain aspects must be taken into account that will help to resolve them:
One must always act based on the premise that the case will end in litigation, in such a way that it is taken for granted that each action that is executed must be supported and explained in a legal process. This implies that the data and information that we collect to develop the hypotheses must be supported by the legality of their acquisition methods.
A missing $270 dollars has just been found. What could have happened?, an accounting auditor will generate his hypotheses based on his experience, a cyber-investigator will generate others, an occupational fraud investigator will arrive with a more open range and the people inside the organization who discovered the lack will add more hypotheses to the case. If we have specialized professionals we can have better hypotheses, very close to what could have really happened.
If we have a suspicion of fraud due to the occurrence of some suspicious and unfortunate event, the best thing we can do is go to specialists in the field to generate quality hypotheses that can later be quoted for resolution.
(Auditool, 2018) Digital Forensic Audit Course
NOFRAUD is the company that develops The Fraud Explorer anti-fraud software and supports individuals and companies to face and solve their challenges regarding internal fraud, corruption and corporate abuse. NOFRAUD has created the largest behavioral database of dishonest acts in the world in Spanish and English, which is used by artificial intelligence to find suspicious patterns of corruption within organizations.