Publications

For more recent publications please see Strathprints: The University of Strathclyde institutional repository

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"Triage in Forensic Accounting using Zipf's Law." A. Odueke and G. R. S. Weir. In Issues in Cybercrime, Security and Digital Forensics. Edited by G. R. S. Weir and A. Al-Nemrat. Glasgow. University of Strathclyde Publishing. 2012. pp. 33-43. Download PDF (BibTeX)

Abstract:
In forensic accounting, use of Benford's law has long been acknowledged as a technique for identifying anomalous numerical data. Zipf's law has received considerably less attention in this domain despite the fact that it is not limited to analysis of numerical datasets. The present paper outlines the context of fraud detection and then describes an experiment that contrasted Benford's law and Zipf's law as highlighters for data anomaly, with a view to enhancing current techniques in fraud detection. Results from tests on two datasets using each technique showed similarities in the samples characterized as 'fraudulent' from which we propose that, when combined with its extended realm of data applicability, Zipf's law has significant potential as an aid to fraud detection as a supplement to other analysis techniques. In particular, this approach could be employed as a component in forensic accounting triage in order to enhance the detection rate of fraud and assist in fraud prevention.