We all know that fraud is out there. We know it exists, and that it happens, but most people aren’t really clued up on how to identify when it’s happening or how to stop it. Despite the fact that white collar crime is costing the economy billions each year, there remains limited guidance on how to prevent it.
Having settled into his new position at his dream company, our millennial recruit, John has begun to notice that one of his managers has been behaving peculiarly. There’s nothing overtly sinister about him, just that he acts a little nervy and tends to keep to himself. I’m sure a great deal of us have worked with someone like this. Sure, it could mean that they don’t get along well with others or work better alone but when this type of behaviour is combined with other unusual company symptoms, there may be cause for concern.
John has for example noted that his manager submits an exceptional amount of travel and expense claims. Most unusual since his manager seems to never be far from his desk. John has also noticed that each time his manager has asked him to file client invoices there have been some discrepancies in the banking details of certain clients, with at least three of them seeming to have two different bank accounts.
Know the signs
If you suspect someone is committing fraud within your company, what do you do? You could simply ignore it since it’s not really your problem, but is that the right thing to do? No, of course not. Also, if you know that someone is committing fraud and fail to report them to the necessary parties, you could be considered complicit in their crimes. Instead of falling victim to someone else’s misgivings, follow these steps and do the right thing.
Employees who are committing fraud have historically been noted to demonstrate very similar types of behaviours in the workplace. These are just a few of things John spotted regarding his manager.
Living La Vida Loca
While its generally a no-no to discuss another colleague’s salary, warning bells might sound when the office bookkeeper rolls into work in a Jaguar that just rolled off the showroom floor and flashing a hot new Rolex. Sure, maybe Steve did win the Lotto, or maybe Aunty Heather did leave him as the sole heir in her will, but is this really plausible in the real world? Colleagues who are spending way above their paygrade should be raising a few red flags.
Always at the office
Oh yes… the overly committed employee. Certain job functions really don’t require that much overtime or after-hours dedication. But now and then employees will come across fellow colleagues who brag about the fact that they never take leave. They’re often the first one in and the last one out. They avoid leaving their desks at all costs. Is it complete and utter devotion to their job, or are they nervous that something may be spotted in their absence?
The topic of the month – drugs in the workplace – can also be a major factor in an individual’s decision to try embezzle funds from their company. If you know for a fact that someone is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, it might be worth mentioning to management so that they can get the individual help.
Go to HR
John is pretty certain that Steve is doing something untoward with the company funds. Knowing what to do next is crucial to having action taken to protect the company. Don’t report someone on a hunch since this can have far reaching consequences for both you and the alleged culprit.
First, make sure you have reasonable evidence or proof that the accused is committing fraud. Don’t accuse someone of such a serious crime based purely on hearsay. From the position of an employer, if you fire someone based on word-of-mouth, you will harm your company’s image and open yourself up to wrongful dismissal lawsuits.
By carefully considering his options and making an informed decision on whether to report Steve the accountant or not, John was able to make life a lot easier for his company. When it was found that Steve had been doubling his salary each month in bogus payments, the company was able to take action and ensure that the fraud was dealt with.
Before approaching an employee and firing them on the suspicion of fraud, the organisation will have to consult the services of an investigating and screening company such as iFacts who will quickly be able to measure and assess the information providing actual proof.