Using Data for Good to Help Governments Fight Fraud

Government workers are committed
to doing good for our citizens and communities. Yet the system is
plagued with challenges. Fraud and waste are
at an all-time high, representing nearly 10% of
government-program spending. I know firsthand how
devastating the costs of fraud can be because I’ve
seen its effects. I’m Carl Hammersburg,
and for 26 years I’ve worked for
and with government to fight fraud, to keep
programs financially healthy, and improve people’s lives. As we know all too well,
no one is immune to fraud. 15.4 million cases of identity
theft alone occurred in 2016. Programs meant to
protect people suffer. I’ve seen the victims,
and you know them too– senior citizens, single
parents, veterans, and special-needs children. Innocent, honest
people pay the price. And tech-savvy
fraudsters are only getting more sophisticated
at what they do best. New schemes and new threats
require new thinking. It’s time to reimagine
government without fraud, waste, and abuse. Today, with analytics,
it’s possible. Recent changes to
legal restrictions have enabled better data
sharing between agencies, and many states are now acting
to make data and analytics a priority. Data sharing at the
state and federal level helped crack a $900 million
Medicaid and Medicare fraud network. That one case alone
brought over 300 arrests. Governments across Europe lose
100 billion euros annually to VAT carousel fraud. By using advanced analytics
to proactively stop fraud before it happens, Belgium
saves nearly 1 billion euros each year. Using analytics, the IRS
stopped nearly 2 million fraudulent refund requests,
totaling nearly $15 billion in a single year. In Washington state, my work
with data sharing and analysis helped us raise
workers’ comp tax audits with positive outcomes
from 50% to nearly 85%. In all of these examples,
we see analytics in action, and it’s truly encouraging. So whether you’re trying
to close the $3.1 trillion tax gap, know if unemployment
claims are legitimate, or move beyond
pay-and-chase for Medicaid, the ability to gain
deeper data insights and make smarter
decisions is critical. With analytics,
we have the power to do more for our
citizens, and we must.

Maurice Vega

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