Most Common Fraud Words Used in Emails: Cover Up, Write Off, Illegal

The study is based on a piece of software developed by Ernst & Young and the FBI

By Eduard Kovacs on January 8th, 2013 19:21 GMT

A piece of software developed by the FBI and Ernst & Young has helped authorities determine what are the most common words and phrases utilized in email conversations by employees engaged in corporate fraud.

The most common appear to be “cover up,” followed by “write off” and “illegal.” Phrases such as “failed investment,” and “nobody will find out” occupy the fourth and fifth positions.

“Email traffic is only seized upon by regulators or fraud investigators when the damage has been done,” noted Dr Rashmi Joshi, director of Ernst & Young's Fraud Investigation & Disputes Services.

“Firms are increasingly seeking to proactively search for specific trends and red flags – initially anonymously – but with the potential for investigation where a consistent pattern of potential fraud is flagged.”

Here’s the complete list of the top 10 words and phrases used by corporate fraudsters:

1. Cover up
2. Write off
3. Illegal
4. Failed investment
5. Nobody will find out
6. Grey area
7. They owe it to me
8. Do not volunteer information
9. Not ethical
10. Off the books
Most common words and phrases used by employees engaged in fraud
   Most common words and phrases used by employees engaged in fraud
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