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Tell-tale signs

Member: Nifa

With the holiday period firmly behind us, people are back at work and dreaming of the sun but could there be someone in the office who looks like they are on a permanent vacation and yet earns no more than their co-workers?  If so, they might be perpetrating a fraud.  Fraud costs businesses millions a year and in a small firm, losing even a tiny percentage of profit can be the difference between success and failure, so it is vital, if anything untoward is suspected, for business owners to put their minds at rest.

Sometimes, changes in behaviour can be an indicator of fraud.  Has an employee started to live a more ostentatious lifestyle, for example?  If so, does anyone at the firm know why? Then, in some cases, irregular audit findings could be an indicator of something not quite right and these need to be acted upon.  If suspicions are aroused, they can be confirmed or not by bringing in forensic investigators, who will find out quickly if the person is acting fraudulently or has simply had a change in their personal circumstances that has altered their behaviour.

Using sophisticated software, these experts will look at email trails, financial figures and conduct internal audits that will quickly pick up anomalies and, more importantly, give the reasons for them. It is also important to note that they can look beyond the surface on the computer and find out what may have been deleted, for example, something laypeople would struggle to do.

An independent professional investigation will get to the facts, allowing the business owner to either retain confidence in their staff or try to get back some of their losses and letting any worker under suspicion start the year with an unblemished record or facing the punishment they deserve.

Author: Roger Isaacs, 12 January 2015

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