Authentic8 released the results of its 2020 Global Financial Crimes Survey, conducted in partnership with the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS).

A total of 175 fraud analysts from 150 financial organizations participated in the survey, yielding results with a +/-7% margin of error at the 95% confidence level.

Respondents included analysts with specialized expertise in a range of disciplines including financial crime (anti-money laundering, tax evasion, bribery), fraud (identity theft, credit card theft, account theft, phishing) and governance, risk & compliance (general GRC, know your customer, customer due diligence).

The survey findings quantify how financial corporations face increasing risks and exposure to losses as they battle against hackers and online adversaries. While the volume and sophistication of financial crimes continue to increase, the capabilities of internal fraud investigations teams are failing to keep up:

  • 90% of survey respondents state that “More investment is needed [in their open source intelligence (OSINT) gathering capabilities] to accelerate time-to-insight for investigations.”
  • 75% admit “No” when asked “Are you / your team researching and collecting evidence from the dark web.”
  • 46% would collect more intel from the dark web and other toxic sources “If it could be done securely and with an audit trail.”
  • 28%  indicate their biggest challenge in online investigations is “Training to keep up with evolving criminals / technology.”

This struggle to keep pace exposes companies to a litany of risks: the risk of costly write-downs on fraudulent transactions; compliance risk and penalties for not keeping up with regulations; money-laundering losses; risk to their brands from embarrassing data breaches and ransomware heists; and ultimately risk to their bottom-line profitability and stock price appreciation.

“Adversaries are growing in both sophistication and number, but the surveyed firms are telling us the productivity of their fraud analysts is not improving at the same rate,” said Scott Petry, co-founder and CEO of Authentic8 Inc. “The imbalance leads to more risk exposure for financial firms and other regulated industries. They risk write-downs, legal penalties, damage to their brand reputations, and more. What this survey is telling us is that companies need to focus more resources on the productivity of their financial fraud analysts, and specifically on the investigation tools that their analysts need in order to be effective in their research.”

Other highlights from the 2020 Global Financial Crimes Survey include:

  • Need for anonymity: 91% say it is “...desirable or critical that online research activities be conducted anonymously.”
  • Need for zero exposure: 74% state “We need to protect our IT infrastructure while browsing unsafe sites / malicious content.”
  • Need for appropriate investigation tools: 59% strongly agreed that “We need integrated tools for evidence capture, analysis and storage.”
  • Need for global coordination: 58% describe their investigations to be global or multinational in scale when asked “What is the geographic scope of your online investigation activities,” regardless if the organization operates globally or not.
  • Need for collaboration: 50% of cases involve two to four analysts working together on the investigation; 14 percent involve teams of 5 or more, indicating the need for secure collaboration tools.

Request a full survey by visiting