2018 Fraud Week Wrap-up: Fraud Prevention Tips and Information

By Lowers & Associates,

This Saturday, November 17, 2018, will conclude the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ 2018 International Fraud Awareness Week. Serving as a global effort to minimize the impact of fraud by promoting anti-fraud awareness and education, we were proud to join Fraud Week as an official supporter.

Your risk of organizational fraud is much higher than many managers and leaders realize, as demonstrated by the ACFE’s 2018 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse. With a median loss of $130,000 per case, and with cases lasting a median of 16 months, fraud presents a risk to organizations large and small.

In support of Fraud Week, we produced several informational articles, which are summarized here for easy reference:

How Organizations Respond to Fraud

You discover your erstwhile trusted employee has been skimming funds to support a gambling habit. What do you do? The case studies analyzed in the ACFE’s 2018 Report to the Nations suggest a range of options organizations choose in the wake of a fraud. Typical responses include actions both through internal mechanisms, and through external legal channels.

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Benchmarking Fraud: How Does Your Organization Compare?

The ACFE’s 2018 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse offers a treasure trove of data you can use to assess how your organization’s fraud profile stacks up against other organizations in terms of industry, size, and location. What can the lessons and benchmarks embedded in the report teach you about your own organization’s risks? How can you become better protected?

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Who’s Putting Your Organization at Risk of Fraud?

Many times, occupational fraud is committed by an employee or third-party partner who is experienced and trusted. Which of your employees—or leaders—is likely to flip over to the dark side? And why? The 2018 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse provides valuable information on these questions. Based on data from almost 2,700 cases of occupational fraud submitted by Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) worldwide, the selected cases aggregate a huge amount of descriptive information that managers can use to detect fraud sooner.

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The Red Flags of Fraud You May Not Know

Much is written about the common behavioral red flags of fraud, but there are other red flags organizations should be aware of when it comes to predicting and preventing fraud. So-called human resources-related red flags and non-fraud-related misconduct can offer valuable insight to those responsible for anti-fraud programs.

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If there’s one takeaway from Fraud Awareness Week we hope you gleaned, it is the importance of early fraud detection and proactive prevention. Your organization is not immune to fraud, no organization is. The difference is how your organization deals with this reality in order to protect people, brands, and profits from unnecessary loss.

17 Facts to Fuel Your 2017 Fraud Prevention Plan

By Lowers & Associates,

fraud prevention plan

Every two years, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) performs and publishes research on worldwide organizational fraud. These reports have rearranged the landscape on organizational fraud by providing a bedrock data-based description of the incidence, characteristics and impact of fraud on organizations of all types.

The 9th report in this series, the 2016 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, continues and expands the information available to organizational managers to help shape their risk management strategies to combat organizational fraud. With the sound methodology repeated by these studies over time, some solid trends have been established, but we can also see some emerging threats.

Here are 17 facts that can help you to understand and respond to the threat of organizational fraud in your organization:

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2016 ACFE Report Highlights Staggering Cost of Occupational Fraud

By Lowers & Associates,

cost of occupational fraud

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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How to Foil the Fraudster in Your Organization

By Mark Lowers,

Most managers, and in fact employees at all levels, assume their co-workers are honest and working to do their best for the organization. Unless they are the one who is perpetrating a fraud.

Unfortunately, occupational fraud is a lot more common than most people think. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) has published a series of reports based on fraud examiners’ actual cases that document the pervasiveness of these hidden crimes. The 2014 edition of the Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse confirms that fraudsters steal 5% of top line revenue every year, which amounts to over $650 billion per year in the U.S. alone, and an astonishing $3.7 trillion worldwide. … Continue reading

Portraying the Perpetrators of Occupational Fraud

By Lowers & Associates,

fraud perpetrators

In movies and television it’s easy to spot the criminals.  In real life, and particularly when it comes to fraud, this is not the case.  In occupational fraud, it’s especially difficult because the crimes are committed by people you have entrusted to represent your organization.  These are people you know and trust; not masked characters lurking in the shadows.

Despite this, there are a number of commonalities among fraudsters, and specific trends in their crimes.  Awareness of demographic information and the behavioral trends surrounding fraud perpetrators is a crucial component of uncovering occupational fraud, which has grown into a potential $3.5 trillion a year global crime.  … Continue reading

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