The number of cases involving employee fraud rose to 35 in 2012, up from 22 the year before, according to KMPG. Their value has also seen a sharp climb, more than doubling from £12m in 2011 to £25.1m over the past 12 months.
In light of these figures, commercial detective investigations agency Expert Investigations have put together ‘top ten tips’ on what measures a workplace can put in place in order to prevent fraudulent behaviour.
1. Background checks
Implement a vetting procedure for new staff and agency staff, especially those in “risky” roles, such as those in finance and procurement as well as those who have access to personal details such as customer service in financial institutions, etc.
2. Look for red flags (Warning signs)
Are they the first and last one in the office? Do they rarely take annual leave? Are they protective over their workload? Do they seem to be living beyond their means – expensive car, own many properties, five star holidays? If so, this could be a sign of fraudulent activity.
3. Don’t discard anonymous tip offs
Most frauds are discovered through tip offs with over 50 per cent of these being reported by employees and customers. Make sure you listen to these!
4. Provide an anonymous outlet for reporting
Ensure you have a whistleblowing hotline for staff and employees, and ensure it is widely advertised and used internally and externally.
5. Devise an anti–fraud corporate attitude
Ensure there are fraud, bribery and corruption policies in place, frequently advertise these, ensure they are reviewed yearly, and promoted from the top down within the organisation.
6. Develop a fraud action plan
If a fraud is discovered, an action plan will ensure there is a strategic and structured response to the fraud. The plan should include who will be involved at what stage of the investigation, identify key stakeholders, and any reporting requirements needed under any regulation of the company. Also ensure there is a HR policy in place.
7. Provide fraud training
Regular training and updates should be made compulsory throughout the organisation to ensure the company stance against fraud is advertised. Ensure staff are aware of different fraud types, behaviours and red flags, whistleblowing and that the reporting procedures are clear.
8. Change around your audit staff
Change your auditors regularly to ensure any frauds are more likely to be identified.
9. Rotate staff in key roles
Rotate people within “risky roles” so that they are not able to commit frauds for long periods of time without detection by others.
10. Always be aware
ALL staff have the potential to commit frauds! From those in lower paid roles all the way up to the senior management team. Often, those in senior roles can get away with frauds for a longer period of time as they have more responsibility, less accountability to disclose their work situation and less supervision.
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