The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) says only an estimated four per cent of fraud committed against a company is ever discovered by external auditors. There are many ways that employers and companies can guard against this crime – including keeping a close eye out for certain signs.
Perpetrators are often white-collar criminals with university degrees. They’re highly respected and usually have a pretty important role in the company – and someone you’d think was the nicest person in the room. Employers should watch out for a person’s need to support their lifestyle (keep up with the Jones’s); fraudsters are propelled by greed. Often, it’s also a narcissistic person who believes they’re worth way more than they’re getting paid in their job and feel justified in committing fraud.
According to the ACFE, white-collar fraud adds up to $500 billion a year in the USA. Despite the high dollar amount, those who are caught only face a light slap on the wrist – or even no punishment at all. Many times, fraud isn’t reported to the police and an employee is just let go, permitting the opportunity to work elsewhere and commit more fraud.
There are many ways employers can protect themselves. Using an outside accountant to review company expenses, provide ethics training to staff, keeping a watchful eye on employees who insist on being present during key periods of business – and running data analytics and risk assessments are ways to prevent fraud.
Employers must engage with the staff as well as ask pointed questions when necessary. Even though people don’t want to be whistle-blowers, if you ask them direct questions it’s hard for them to deny any knowledge of wrongdoing.
In the 30 years Dave Oswald has been in business, he says unfortunately it’s rare to see a fraudster face jail time, and a fraudster’s behaviour doesn’t quit or change their habits over time except to increase their activity. Even though our federal government claims to be one of anti-corruptions, Oswald says there’s little action taken to stop it, something he wishes would change.