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How can companies stamp out fraud?

by Josef Kafka

How can companies stamp out fraud?

Can you imagine willingly handing over £6,000 per second, each day? And giving that money to someone who hasn’t earned it?

Well that’s what UK companies are unwittingly doing. The UK economy loses a staggering £193 billion every year, to fraud. 

(source: http://www.experian.co.uk/blogs/latest-thinking/identity-and-fraud/fraud-costs-uk-economy-193-billion-year-equating-6000-lost-per-second-every-day/)

There is a misconception that fraud is largely due to hackers and identity thieves, who create a dramatic and unmissable impact. However, digital fraud can be insidious and hard to detect. Especially when it comes from within your organisation.

Your own staff know your systems. They can also gauge the habits and checks that their employers use. Which can make them even more adept at covering their own tracks.

Not surprisingly, increasing numbers of UK organisations are sourcing and commissioning additional help. Specialists who can help them to stem the rising tide of fraud. Not least, as the wholesale move towards digital workplaces has made it even easier to carry out fraudulent online transactions.

If an employer believes a member of their workforce is taking advantage of them, how can they root out the culprits? 

How to uncover in-house fraud

Sometimes the first step is to gather enough information on the fraudulent activity, to be able to uncover the perpetrator with confidence.

For example, a member of your management team could be manipulating data to leave you suspecting that you are losing money, without hard facts to back up your fears. Particularly if they are salting away regular small sums of cash, over a period of time. 

There have been plenty of news stories in recent times, about senior managers who have been found guilty of historic fraud. The tendency is to think “How did they get away with it for so long?”

Part of the problem is that companies can’t act on suspicions alone. In such a litigious age, it is vital to gather enough evidence on the employee you suspect of misconduct, before you take any action.

What help is available?

For growing numbers of companies, gathering evidence on staff misconduct involves bringing in specialists who have the latest technology for forensic accounting. This can help to identify anomalies in figures. 

This could include, for example, using software to categorise and analyse data entries more thoroughly. Are there patterns and anomalies that only become clearer when data is sorted into new fields and formula?

Private investigation firms can also provide covert surveillance in the workplace and outside of your place of employment. They are experts in using the latest technology and their own insights, to reveal patterns of behaviour that suggest fraud is taking place.

They can also ensure that employees you suspect of misconduct are totally unaware that their actions outside work are being observed. The specialists know how to carry out such necessary covert surveillance while remaining complaint with privacy legislation.

Specialist private investigators can also work with companies to create or improve security protocols, highlighting areas of vulnerability and closing the door on would-be fraudsters on your payroll.

Is it only big companies who need fraud surveillance and better security protocols?

Don’t kid yourself that this is an issue that only affects large, affluent organisations. According to Report to the Nations, 30% of fraud cases occur in businesses with less than 100 employees.

It is estimated that many companies are regularly “losing” 5% of their gross revenue to fraudsters.

If you are an SME, that represents a substantial amount and could be the difference between survival and going under.

In fact, there is evidence to suggest that 60% of small businesses that are on the receiving end of fraud, end up having to cease trading due to this loss of funds.

(source: https://www.accountingweb.com/community/blogs/stevenhgallagher/how-accountants-can-use-technology-to-detect-fraud)

Bringing in outside expertise means these smaller companies have access to the latest fraud related technology, services and expertise.

Additional benefits of fraud prevention and control help

Private investigators can also provide evidence for when a business partner or key staff member is behaving strangely, and you are concerned that their financial dealings are at best negligent, and at worst fraudulent.

For example, a private investigator could help a company to track and trace transactions that occur on weekends, when the company is only operating during the week. 

Duplicate entries can also become more obvious using modern technology. Greater transparency in data collection and handling means it is possible to track refunds and payments more efficiently to search for anomalies.

Actually, pinning this on one individual can require the skills of private investigators to gather commercial evidence and to observe staff.

If nothing else, engaging the services of a private investigator can restore your relationship with a business partner or colleague, if their suspected fraud turns out to be unsubstantiated.

To build your in-house skills in fraud prevention and detection, and to commission services to root out physical and digital theft, contact 247 Detectives for a no obligation chat. 

Our own compliance and protocols to ensure privacy, security and discretion are second to none.

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