Thursday, April 03, 2008

Help for students looking for "computer fraud" incidents

Yesterday a student came to the ref desk and asked for helping finding incidents of computer fraud. She said she had spent 2 hours on Google and hadn't found anything. She said international incidents would be better, but she would be happy to find anything.

Here are two quick ways to find incidents of computer fraud:

Login into the database Audit Analytics. (You will need to create an account).
Look for restatements in the list on the right. Then, do a text search for "computer fraud." (A company may need to restate their earnings for many reasons, and "computer fraud" is one of them.) 99 restatements were located, of which 90 were unique (meaning some companies had one more one restatement). Results could be filtered by year, industry, company size, etc.
The results can be downloaded. From there, companies could be identified and more searches done on news and accounting databases.

Second quick search: Go to CCH Business & Finance database, click Securities tab.
Scroll down to Federal Securities, Reporters and Primary Materials.
Select Federal Securities case archive 1941-1993, (first column) Sec Tracker daily for the last 90 days and the option from 2002 to the most recent 90 days (second column).
Then, enter "computer fraud" as keywords to search.
In the results, the search terms will be highlighted in yellow. Some will say that x has been charged with computer fraud. It is helpful to remember that being charged doesn't mean being guilty. Either the government has to prove you are guilty or you have to admit it.
(Some of the charges have been filed recently).
So, look for pleaded guilty to x number of counts of computer fraud. Then, click on the hyperlink to get the details from the SEC's.
Searching news and accounting literature could add more details, if needed.

For international results, I later tried searching the ABI Inform and used the topic search to show how computer fraud is assigned to topics and locations. Factiva could also be used.

The student was pleased with the results and the little time it took. She agreed that in the future she should ask for help from a librarian before spending two hours Googling without results.

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