How to spot a potential office fraudster
May 12, 2016
Fraud is a never-ending epidemic in the world of corporate business, costing companies in Africa billions annually.
With increasingly sophisticated means being developed for criminals to conduct fraudulent activity, companies have to be on the lookout for ways to identify potential fraudsters operating from within their organisation and eliminate the threat before losing any assets.
Insider threats are often more dangerous to a company than any potential hacker on the internet may be. With white collar crimes on the rise, particularly in South Africa, there are a number of behavioural traits that you should be on the lookout for when looking to identify risk employees in your midst.
Spending more than they earn
Living beyond one’s means is a tell-tale sign that an individual is likely dabbling in less-than-savoury behaviour. If one of your employees is seen to be driving an expensive sports car with a repayment that is higher than their salary, then this would give reason to raise a few questions.
One easy way for a fraudster to embezzle funds is to take advantage of inconsistent account practices, particularly if they themselves handle the books. Small additional payments or unsanctioned excess purchases are a quick and easy way for these individuals to get away with company funds. Ensure that you have the option of having an independent assessor available to balance the books and find any possible discrepancies.
Too friendly with clients
Often when an employee strikes up an unusually close relationship with a client, this opens avenues for them to receive additional funds outside of what your company receives. This goes above and beyond a good relationship between a salesman and his client and more towards a personal one that sees favour being traded between the two parties. This could be further detrimental to your company as an employee might be more inclined to give a friend a specific job or tender over a potential client that might be more deserving.
Never taking leave
Most employees need to take leave for a variety of reasons – personal, holidays, or just simply for a break. That’s why employees who refuse to take leave, even going so far as to work on public holidays or weekends, are often suspect in terms of fraud. One reason for their unwillingness to take leave could simply be to stay near the ‘scene of the crime’ and ensure that they aren’t caught out while they aren’t there.
Employees that develop addiction problems, whether they’re substance abuse related or gambling debts, are more likely to resort to criminal activities to feed their addiction. Cases such as these present a moral dilemma for employers, as individuals suffering from these addictions are the ones that need the most help. However, from a professional standpoint, you need to implement damage control techniques to minimise the risk that these employees pose to your organisation.
Not fitting in
You should always be on the lookout for employees that don’t get along well with their colleagues. Professional relationships are important in maintaining a healthy work environment for everyone, as well as discouraging individuals from turning to fraud or embezzlement. If a majority of your employees are weary around someone, then it may be worth investigating.
Employee Fraud by Numbers
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