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Benford's LawTheory and Applications$
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Steven J. Miller

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691147611

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691147611.001.0001

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Detecting Fraud and Errors Using Benfordʼs Law Mark Nigrini

Detecting Fraud and Errors Using Benfordʼs Law Mark Nigrini

(p.191) Chapter Eight Detecting Fraud and Errors Using Benfordʼs Law Mark Nigrini
Benford's Law
Steven J. Miller
Princeton University Press

This chapter reviews Benford's law as it relates to detecting fraud and errors. It starts with an introduction and a review of selected parts of Benford's original 1938 paper, which shows the results of his analysis of 20,229 records from a total of 20 sets of data. Thereafter, four complaint data sets are reviewed, pertaining to interest received amounts from tax return data, census results from the 2000 United States census, results of an analysis of streamflow data, and results of analysis of accounts payable data. This is then followed by a discussion of several Benford analyses of fraudulent data related to accounts payable amounts, payroll data, and reported corporate numbers. The concluding discussion talks about these findings and sheds some light on when Benford's law might, or might not, detect fraud or errors.

Keywords:   1938 paper, complaint data sets, authentic data sets, fraudulent data sets, fraud detection, error detection

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