Three Ways to Spot and Address Risk Factors Leading to Fraud in Your Workplace

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Many employers are greatly concerned about the potentially damaging effects of employee fraud. The consequences of such harmful individual actions can affect everyone within an organisation. If you’ve become invested in the collective, there are some best practices you can help implement to ensure the safety and success of the team and its efforts.

Limit direct opportunities

Weak internal security measures — or a lack thereof — can make it relatively easy for employees to perpetrate a fraud. Having security cameras installed in the workplace, along with warning signs to let people know they are being watched, is a simple way to deter fraudulent behaviour. Apps can be installed on workstations to log user activity, including chat and email conversations using work accounts. On other devices, fuel management systems allow the owners of a UK fleet to monitor drivers and their fueling practices.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By helping to implement better controls and making it known that employee behaviour is being tracked, you can provide sufficient deterrent. This way, the majority of employees will never perceive an opportunity to get away with fraud.

Control knowledge of means

In practice, any organisation, especially those who operate on a smaller scale and with limited resources, will find that no security measure is foolproof. An individual with the necessary skills can remotely access sensitive data, but this knowledge of how to do so frequently comes from the inside. Up to 60% of cyber-attacks may originate from insiders, either inadvertently or with malicious intent.

Your team’s security system may be sophisticated, but it will only be as good as the people who use it. Restricting not only user access level but also the know-how of getting in (as well as the information on what sort of data is being handled and stored) will reduce the overall exposure to an attack. Disconnect the people with knowledge of the means from those who have the ability or desire to commit fraud.

Address potential motives

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If taken too far, employee monitoring can create a stifling sense of constant surveillance in the workplace. Likewise, excessive information restriction can hinder communications, reduce the individual’s feeling of empowerment and slow down daily processes, making your team operate inefficiently.

By getting to know each employee a little better, you can help identify potential warning signs and behaviours. People don’t usually commit fraud casually or for fun. Often, employees will be driven by lifestyle problems, such as being deep in debt or feeling some sort of grievance towards the company or their boss. Paying attention to this human aspect will reveal underlying motives in any employee. This will help your team exercise more caution and use their best judgment in handling sensitive information or potentially loosening some security measures around those whom you can trust.

Employee fraud is a crime, and many detectives know that solving a crime is a matter of identifying means, motive and opportunity. Instead of dealing with the possibly devastating fallout of internal fraud, use these tips to help recognise those three elements and practice awareness.

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