In the 2016 update to the invaluable Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) analyzed 2,410 cases of occupational fraud that cost more than $6.3 billion in losses. Extrapolate this to the total number of organizations at risk and you can understand why ACFE has found in report after report that about 5% of top line revenue is lost to fraud every year, worldwide (download the ACFE The Staggering Cost of Fraud PDF).
Unlike the human capital risks of complacency or turnover, occupational fraud is an intentional act to steal from the organization. It involves a conscious attempt by someone within or linked to the organization to seek “personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse of misapplication of the employing organization’s resources or assets” (ACFE).
Needless to say, fraudsters have every incentive to remain hidden, so a well-executed fraud can go on for years. The intentional, hidden nature of fraud puts the emphasis in risk management on identifying potential fraudsters (preferably before you hire them) and limiting and monitoring the opportunities for fraud.
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Occupational fraud is a common problem. It is even more common than most businesses know, since many incidents are never even detected. When fraud hits, a business can be devastated by the financial costs, along with damage to morale and reputation. The costs are massive.
The 2016 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) report cites more than $6.3 billion in damages from a survey set of 2,410 businesses. Global losses from 2015 are projected at more than $3.7 trillion, with median losses around $150,000 per incident.
Our latest whitepaper, Occupational Fraud: A Hidden Killer of Organizational Performance, provides an in-depth look at the complexities of occupational fraud, so you can prevent, detect, minimize, and/or recover from it.
Start with education and STOP fraud in its tracks:
A recent report out from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) confirms a growing and alarming trend – occupational fraud continues to rise, and with it businesses are ravaged by massive costs. The multi-layered impact of occupational fraud affects nearly every industry in every region worldwide – from the US and Canada, throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and into Africa.
It is estimated that approximately 5% of a business’ annual revenues are lost when occupational fraud hits, with many cases never even detected – so the true cost is ultimately unknown. The 2016 ACFE report cites more than $6.3 billion in damages from the occupational fraud cases studied worldwide, from a survey set of 2,410 businesses. Global losses in total are projected at more than $3.7 trillion.
The Sting of a Scheme
Occupational fraud typically covers three categories: asset misappropriations like theft, skimming, or fraudulent disbursements; corruption: including bribery, conflicts of interest, extortion; and financial statement fraud: misreporting as overstatement or understatement. While asset misappropriations are the most common, representing over 80% of cases, the median loss is reported at around $125,000. Comparatively, when financial statement fraud is involved (less than 10% of all cases) the impact can destroy a company, with a median loss of nearly $1M.
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The ultimate goal of any security program is to manage and mitigate risks. What do we mean by risk? In its broadest sense, risk can be defined as the likelihood of loss of anything having value, including people, facilities, information, equipment, and reputation. In a sense specific to security and loss prevention, risk is the probability that a particular threat will exploit a given vulnerability, leading to an unwanted result.
Knowing your risks is the obvious first step. But what is the best approach? And where do you go from there? Here are some key considerations:
First and foremost, identifying the threats to your business is instrumental. It is likely that your institution already has experience with a number of risk factors, but it is important to understand the rate in which new threats arise. It is crucial, therefore, to monitor emergent threats targeting your industry. This can often be accomplished by reading trade publications, engaging in discussions at industry conferences and loss prevention forums, and by obtaining case studies. Also, a number of sources provide crime metrics, some of which are industry specific, and can be very beneficial in identifying threats. … Continue reading
We’re pleased to kick off the new year by sharing our most-read blog posts from the Risk Management Blog in 2014.
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.
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In this post, we offer an overview of the elements of a fraud prevention program that would be useful in any organization. Summarized from, Managing the Business Risk of Fraud: A Practical Guide, produced by a consortium of associations, the guidelines point to specific steps managers can take to implement an effective fraud prevention program.
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