The era of easy cheating is over, thanks to amazing new tech

The days of the private eye are numbered.

The Cheat Life

As the digital era makes it easier to do everything from forge a check to cheat on your spouse, technology has struggled to keep up with the evildoers among us. But a host of new innovations has begun uncovering cheaters in school, sport, finance, and love.

We’ve come a long way from inspecting collars for lipstick stains.

Check out how tech is putting an end to the age of easy cheating.

Student Scammers…Caught

While students in the States write test answers on their hands, students in China taking university entrance exams have been known to use “a special pen that takes pictures of questions and transmits them to an outside accomplice who in turn provides answers via a secret earphone,” according to the Telegraph. Officials in China are combating this sort of high-tech cheating with drones that fly over test takers and hone in on radio frequencies.

For online tests, companies like Examity offer remote proctoring that tries to curb cheating with technologies like keystroke identification and identity verification. Just 6% of the students that Examity helped proctor cheated, according to the company’s recently released findings.

Methods of cheating varied from such classics as a cheat sheet and asking Google for answers. But “it did also catch some gutsier endeavors, such as an instance where ‘a mom hid underneath the desk of the test-taker to communicate answers,’ and another in which a ‘test-taker faked a coughing fit to extricate a cheat sheet in the back of his throat,'” Quartz reports.

Professors are taking cheating into their own hands, too, creating algorithms of their own to detect plagiarism and cheating.

Romantic Cons…Caught

It used to be a private eye was the best way to discover a cheating spouse. Then hackers did it for us: We all remember the Ashley Madison hack that exposed the email addresses of 32 million of its members. Well, you don’t have to wait for hackers anymore.

The website Swipebuster allows users to see for themselves if they’re being cheated on, or at least if their significant other is on Tinder. For $7 and up, Swipebuster scans Tinder’s open API for names of would-be offenders.

“[It] seems like a smart—if somewhat slimy—way to make a buck,” wrote Vanity Fair’s Emily Jane Fox. But the founder, who wishes to stay anonymous, had loftier ambitions.

Swipebuster “was an attempt, albeit perhaps a prurient and sordid one, to use a popular company (Tinder) and a juicy lure (cheating) in order to educate people about how much of their personal data is out there and how easily people can get access to it without hacking or breaking rules.”

Financial Fraudsters…Caught

The offshore tax haven is looking a lot less sunny these days thanks to the Panama Papers. The 2.6 terabytes of data, published in June 2016, show how wealthy individuals hide assets from the tax collectors and launder money.

And while information leaks have happened before personal computers were widely used (Daniel Ellsberg used a photocopier to score a hard copy of the Pentagon Papers), it’s impossible to imagine how a cache like the Panama Papers would have seen the light of day without modern technologies.

The leaker used encrypted chat to communicate with German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. Once the documents were in the hands of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, reporters built a protected search engine and a chat system, so they could provide each other tips and help with translations, as Wired reports.

Experts say we can expect more tech-aided leaks and investigations in the near future. Look out for technology-assisted crackdowns in tax evasion statewide, too, according to the New York Times. A paper out of MIT showed how an algorithm could detect a particular type of tax shelter.

Sports “Players”…Caught

Doping isn’t the only problem in the sports world. Last year, Buzzfeed, exposed possible match-fixing in tennis by, in part, using an algorithm to analyze gambling on matches. In a separate piece co-author John Templon described how he used data from 26,000 professional matches from 2009 to 2015 to uncover the rigged matches.

Templon found that “bettors seemed to be wagering money heavily against certain players. And then some of those players lost their matches far more often than their opening odds would have led anyone to expect.”

To estimate how often they should have been expected to lose he ran 1 million computer simulations per player. Imagine trying to do that on paper.