Fraud Awareness Week Casts Spotlight on White-Collar Crime

By Lowers & Associates,

fraud awareness week

Lowers Risk Group Joins Ranks of Supporters for Nov. 3-9 Awareness Campaign

Organizations lose an estimated 5 percent of their annual revenues to fraud, according to a 2012 study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). To help shine a spotlight on this global problem, we are participating in International Fraud Awareness Week, Nov. 3-9, 2013, as an official supporter to promote anti-fraud awareness and prevention.

During Fraud Week, we will share articles and resources designed to help you understand best practices of fraud prevention and fraud risk management. Check back here often and be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

In its 2012 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, the ACFE found that:

  • Fraud schemes are extremely costly. The median loss caused by the occupational fraud cases in the ACFE study was $140,000. More than one-fifth of the frauds involved losses of at least $1 million.
  • Schemes can continue for months or even years before they are detected. The frauds in the study lasted a median of 18 months before being caught.
  • Occupational fraud is a global problem. Though some findings differ slightly from region to region, most of the trends in fraud schemes, perpetrator characteristics, and anti-fraud controls are similar regardless of where the fraud occurred.
  • Small businesses are especially vulnerable to occupational fraud. These organizations are typically lacking in anti-fraud controls compared to their larger counterparts, which makes them particularly vulnerable to fraud.
  • Tips are key in detecting fraud. Occupational frauds are much more likely to be detected by tip than by any other means. This finding reinforces the need for promoting awareness to foster an informed workforce.

For more information about increasing awareness and reducing the risk of fraud during International Fraud Awareness Week, visit

About the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

Founded in 1988, the ACFE is celebrating its 25th anniversary as the world’s largest anti-fraud organization and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education. Together with more than 65,000 members, the ACFE is reducing business fraud worldwide and inspiring public confidence in the integrity and objectivity within the profession. For more information, visit

The Fraud Triangle: Factors to Explain Fraud

By Lowers & Associates,

The first question on the mind of business owners, executives, and managers whose organizations have been victimized by fraud is how. Understanding the factors that cause an individual to commit an act of fraud can help companies avoid becoming repeat victims and put systems in place to prevent such acts from occurring.

Occupational fraud is defined as “the use of one’s occupation for personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse or misapplication of the employing organization’s resources or assets.” Occupational fraud schemes are clandestine. They violate the perpetrator’s fiduciary duties to the victim organization. They are committed for the purpose of benefiting the perpetrator. And they cost victim organizations assets, revenue, and/or reserves. In fact, U.S. companies will lose 5% of their annual revenue to occupational fraud this year.

For good reason, prevention of occupational fraud is at the center of enterprise risk management strategies. … Continue reading

  Category: Occupational Fraud
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7 Habits of Highly Effective Fraud Prevention Programs

By Lowers & Associates,

fraud perpetrators

Avoiding the losses that result in cases of fraud is not a matter of luck or good fortune. Strategic fraud prevention programs, strategies, and processes form the front line of fraud defense by identifying and filling gaps before losses happen.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) has a valuable resource available to help assess the health of your existing fraud prevention processes. Known as the ACFE Fraud Prevention Check-Up, the self-administered ‘check-up’ can give you a candid view into your company’s vulnerability to fraud and identify major gaps in your processes. … Continue reading

2013 U.S. ATM Fraud Forecast

By Lowers & Associates,

According to the Nilson Report, the world’s leading source of news and proprietary research on consumer payment systems, the United States currently accounts for 47 percent of global credit and debit card fraud even though it generates only 27 percent of the total volume of purchases and cash. Payment card fraud losses totaled $3.56 billion in 2010 in the U.S. from all general purpose and private label, signature, and PIN payment cards.

Unfortunately, ATM fraud will continue to challenge the financial landscape for 2013. Most experts agree it is due to the lack of chip and pin (EMV) implementation in the U.S. Data from the Europol Payment Card Fraud 2012 Situation Report further illustrates the impact. As European countries continue their EMV migration, skimming losses decrease.

ATM Fraud – An Internal Viewpoint

By Lowers & Associates,


Defined as the intentional act of trickery to unlawfully obtain funds from an ATM, most people associate ATM fraud with external crime, where the card or card number and associated PIN are illegally obtained by outside individuals, gangs, or even more sophisticated organized crime syndicates. Considered a form of identity theft by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), while identity theft had been holding relatively steady for the last few years, the FTC cites a 20 percent increase in ATM fraud in 2011 alone.

From the onset of the proliferation in the use of ATMs, less sophisticated (but equally effective) methods of ATM fraud include such means as card trapping, skimming, and keypad overlays.  Trapping, as the name implies, is where the customer’s card is somehow trapped by the perpetrator only to be retrieved later. Skimming is where the perpetrator has put a device over the card slot of an ATM, which reads the magnetic strip as the user unknowingly passes his card through it.  These devices require the use of a miniature camera (inconspicuously attached to the ATM) to read the user’s PIN at the same time.

… Continue reading