Are You Doing Enough To Protect Against Financial Fraud?

By Mark Lowers,

Yet more evidence of the prevalence of financial fraud against organizations has emerged from a recent poll by Kyriba. The poll found that almost 80% of organizations had been victims of fraud.  The very high proportion of victims is startling in itself, but it is consistent with information we have presented in previous posts that organizational fraud is a global problem, costing 5% of top line revenue annually.

Almost 30% of the respondents to the Kyriba poll reported suffering financial losses, but we think this is a conservative number in this context. Organizational fraud is a hidden crime that sometimes is difficult to detect, even long after the fact.  When organizations do detect fraud, they may have incentives to minimize publicity about the crime, so underreporting is probable.

The poll includes some indications that the fraud was even more costly than reported.  5.6% of respondents reported that they had been targets of fraud but did not know if they had suffered losses, while almost 14% did not even know if they had been targets or not.  In fact, a little less than 8% reported that they knew they had not been victims, and it’s a good bet that a few of these simply hadn’t found out yet. … Continue reading

Protecting Against Ghost Employee Fraud

By Mark Lowers,

fraud perpetrators

Payroll fraud accounts for about 9.3% of occupational fraud at a cost of over $300 million per year across all types of organizations. One of the most common forms of payroll fraud is the use of “ghost employees” to divert money to fraudulent identities. Like all organizational frauds, this is a hidden crime that can best be prevented by controls designed to expose all payroll transactions.

The Ghost in the Payroll Machine

A “ghost employee” exists only as an identity in payroll records, although the ghost may be a real person who does not actually work for the company. The ghost employee scam is only successful if the perpetrator has unmonitored access to company systems, so it is typically an inside job. The scheme works if:

  • The ghost identity can be added to payroll records.
  • The system has to be set up to make payments to the ghost, either for false time and/or wages, or for other types of payments, e.g., expense reimbursements.
  • Payments made to the ghost must be concealed, especially from existing controls.
  • Actual disbursement – the point of the fraud – occurs.  … Continue reading