Generative AI (GenAI) has captured the public imagination – its power and promise seemingly poised to affect every facet of society – so it’s hardly surprising that 83% of anti-fraud professionals anticipate adding the technology to their anti-fraud armaments within the next two years.

This is according to the 2024 Anti-Fraud Technology Benchmarking Report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) and SAS which reflects insights from nearly 1 200 ACFE members surveyed in late 2023.

The survey data reveals key trends in the evolution of fraud fighting since 2019. Among them:

* Interest in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology is higher than ever. Eighteen percent of anti-fraud pros currently count AI/ML among their fraud-fighting tools. Another 32% anticipate implementing these technologies in the next two years – a peak since the study’s inception. At this rate, use of AI/ML in anti-fraud programs will almost triple by the end of next year.

* However, AI and ML adoption consistently lags expectations. Despite fervent interest, adoption of AI and ML for fraud detection and prevention has grown only 5% since 2019. That figure falls far short of the anticipated adoption rates revealed in the 2019 and 2022 studies (25% and 26%, respectively).

* While the use of many data analysis techniques has plateaued, the application of biometrics and robotics in anti-fraud programmes has risen steadily. Use of physical biometrics has climbed 14% since 2019, now cited by 40% of respondents. Twenty percent of survey respondents reported using robotics, including robotic process automation (RPA), up from 9% in 2019. The use of these technologies is notably highest in banking and financial services, with 51% using physical biometrics and 33% using robotics.

“The accessibility of GenAI-powered tools makes them incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands,” says ACFE president John Gill. “Three in five organisations foresee increasing their anti-fraud technology budgets over the next two years. How they invest these funds will determine who will seize the upper hand in what’s become a technology arms race with criminal enterprises. It’s an uphill battle when you consider that, unlike the fraudsters, organisations face the added challenge of having to use these technologies ethically.”

Stu Bradley, senior vice-president: risk, fraud and compliance solutions at SAS, says: “Explosive interest in advanced analytics techniques juxtaposed with much more modest adoption rates proves the complexities of scaling the AI and analytics lifecycle. It also underscores the importance of choosing the right technology partner. AI and machine learning aren’t simple plug-and-play applications.

“However, their benefits can be more readily realised by deploying modularised solutions across the risk management spectrum on a single, AI-powered platform. That’s SAS’ approach with cloud-native, language-agnostic SAS Viya.”