Is Your Business At Risk From Fraud?

According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) some 20% of all crime takes place on business premises. When you think of all the theft, murder, drugs and the like, this is an awful lot of crime!

The reason of course is that businesses are the target for all forms of fraud – employee fraud, creditor fraud, supplier fraud, Internet fraud…the list can go on. You should not wait until your business becomes a victim as it inevitably will at some point, do something about it now.

Apart from the obvious security issues for your assets, you need to put together a fraud reduction strategy that will help protect your business from various types of fraud, phishing, pharming, identity theft plus hacking and virus threats to your IT systems.

Your data needs protecting also. Even apparently simple information such as your customer lists are valuable and you do not want your employees giving it to your competitors. The data can also be lost through burglary and criminal damage to your premises. Think of the effort that would be required trying to recreate this information.

Remember to vet your employees when recruiting. You want trustworthy workers who will not put your business and assets at risk. Resumes very often contain falsehoods, and at best exaggerations. Make sure you take up references, check periods of employment and question what an applicant was doing in a “gap” period. Perhaps they were doing time at Her Majesty’s pleasure for fraud! Yes fraudulent employees do commit the same crimes time and time again, moving from one complacent employer to another.

Complacency is the name of the game when it comes to fraud risk. Although it does not always pay to be overly oppressive in your anti-fraud policy and cause resentment and even fear amongst your staff, a tightly controlled work place will undoubtedly prevent the fraudster striking or at least make him think twice before having a go.

Mark Jenner is a forensic accountant and fraud expert advising companies on cost effective ways of preventing fraud.

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