Posted: June 13th, 2022

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OPINION RESEARCH 4:
Topic two this week covers ethical behaviors in regard to accidentally deleting pertinent information in a fraud investigation. In the real world, we all at times make mistakes and when it comes to accidentally deleting information we all fall short of this error, but the good thing is there is nothing an IT department cannot fix. As much as we think when something is deleted it’s gone, that’s not true, every single piece of information is stored on the hard drive and the only way of seriously getting rid of it is by ensuring the hard drive is completely destroyed. Based on experience while my infomation is not fraud related it goes to show the information could still be retrieved. I accidentally deleted a few pictures off my laptop, but was retreievd by an IT expert, so I know for sure if my personal laptop can retrieved docuements, of course for companies it should be easier since every click and every download is stored and backed up in places employees may not have access to.
In the eyes of the professional world, it is expected that trained professionals with specialized knowledge are the ones in charge of extracting, recovering, handling, and preserving digital evidence. According to the manual, “A fraud examiner leading an investigation into a crime that involves a digital device is not necessarily and in most cases should not be the digital forensic examiner.” (Associates of Certified Fraud Examiners., 2022a).
The fraud examiner should be the one however to determine if the digital forensic expert is needed. However, if for some reason the fraud examiner was the one who was conducting the entire case and while compiling the evidence from the computer accidentally deletes the file the first step would be to report the accident to the head of the team. If this was deleted purposely then it would a whole different ball game, but since this was an accident no laws were violated. A certified fraud examiner should ensure that they act professionally at all times and should not engage in unethical behavior. Not reporting the accident will be a violation of the code, however, if after the document was deleted and you tried on your own to retrieve it and you were not successful but still reported the accident, this is still within good ethical behavior (Associates of Certified Fraud Examiners., 2022b).
Certified Fraud Examiners should also at all times conduct themselves with integrity and objectivity. Integrity is the meaning of behaving honestly and straightforwardly towards clients and employers, so being honest and upfront about the mistake is what should be done, and objectivity means acting without being influenced by one’s own feelings.In addition, the CFE should not commit acts discreditable to the ACFE or its membership, and shall always conduct itself in the best interest of the reputation of the profession (Associates of Certified Fraud Examiners., 2022c).
If the evidence was deleted deliberately then all codes will be violated because a CFE shall at no time intentionally tamper with, destroy, fabricate, or alter evidence that is relevant to an examination. Carefully notice the world deliberately and not accidentally. Those two words mean completely different things and determine how the situation would be handled. They should report their own violations of the standards to the ACFE and are also encouraged to report violations by others. Any CFE who violates the code may be subject to sanctions by ACFE which may include termination of membership and loss of CFE designation (Associates of Certified Fraud Examiners., 2012).

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