What is fraud?
In the broadest sense, the term fraud encompasses actions that are meant to deceive for financial or
personal gain. It’s any intentional or deliberate act to deprive another of property or money by guile,
deception or other unfair means. Occupational fraud is fraud committed by people who work for,
or do business with, an organization. This specific form of fraud represents a real and large risk to any organization that employs individuals.
Why should we care about fraud?
Fraud costs billions of dollars in damage to companies, governments and individuals each year. Additionally, fraud can dramatically affect the quality of life of its victims — and the employees of its victims — resulting in job losses, the loss of savings and
investments, weakened trust in public institutions and a significant strain on resources.
Conduct fraud training and raise awareness
Organizations that provided fraud training for employees saw a 38% reduction in the median loss per fraud instance. If your organization doesn’t have dedicated anti-fraud professionals to lead trainings, you can take the initiative and share the free resources found on FraudWeek.com or ask a CFE to give a presentation at your organization. Even just starting conversations about fraud and raising awareness of the issue may dissuade potential fraudsters from acting.
Be aware of red flags and trust your instincts
Now that you have learned some of the red flags, you can remain vigilant. While the majority of employees are honest, if you observe something that does not seem right, you should evaluate the
situation. Then, if you still have doubts or suspicions, it might be necessary to take action.
Most companies have a reporting mechanism, such as a hotline, that allows employees to report wrongdoing anonymously. If your company does not have a hotline, or if you prefer not to use it, you could write an anonymous letter to the appropriate official in your company or to the internal audit or anti-fraud team if your organization has one. If the allegation involves the company’s top management, it can be reported to the board of directors, the board’s audit committee or the company’s independent auditors.