Fraud costs the economy in the UK more than every other type of crime put together. Fraud is on the increase due to the ease of international travel and communication. Almost anyone is now a potential victim of fraud, one of the most common forms that nearly everyone would have come across is through emails with fraudsters posing as banks trying to get personal financial information.
Internal fraud is one of the most common types of fraud that businesses are faced with. This is where an employee or sub contract worker commits the act. The most vulnerable businesses are small companies which are IT based. These companies place a significant amount of trust in their employees and often have a team which is not simply based in an office but is spread out in various locations. If the financial end of the business is dealt with away from the central core of the business then it can be open to being taken advantage of with any level of fraud being possible.
A recent example of this involved the employee of a company setting up a company with a very similar name to who they worked for. They were then able to set up a bank account in a similar name and make payments into the bank account of their new company which should have been going into the bank account of their employer. They then reported that there had simply been a down turn in sales in order to cover their tracks. Another example involved the director of a company setting up another company which he then contracted work out to. He then paid himself for thousands of pounds worth of work, which wasn't needed and which never got completed anyway.
Both these examples involve the person committing the fraud altering the information that they are supplying to the company they are working for. Trust had been completely placed in the hands of the guilty parties with no third party to check to see if the information that was being provided was correct.
The people that are in charge of running small businesses are often under a lot of pressure from all angles to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that the business is attracting new customers. It is because of this that they are often too busy to notice the signs that the business is being defrauded. The more money that is lost, the more pressure that those in charge are under to try to get the company back on track and thus it can often be a downward spiral into decline.
One of the most important things that any small business can do therefore is to ensure that there are no elements of the business that are monitored and controlled by just one person.