Fraud can have a serious impact on any organization, leading to financial losses, damaged reputations and even legal consequences.
Recognizing fraud at your workplace is a responsibility that falls upon every employee. Oftentimes, employees have practical ways to identify fraudulent activities.
1. Monitor financial anomalies
One of the most noticeable signs of fraud is unusual financial activity. Keep an eye out for discrepancies in financial records, such as missing receipts, unexplained expenses or unexpected changes in account balances. These irregularities could indicate fraudulent behavior within your organization.
2. Scrutinize documentation
Fraudsters often create false documents to cover their tracks. Carefully examine invoices, contracts and other paperwork for inconsistencies, such as incorrect dates, mismatched signatures or suspicious alterations. Document discrepancies can be a red flag for fraudulent activities.
3. Pay attention to unusual behavior
Behavioral changes in colleagues can also be a clue. If someone suddenly becomes overly secretive about their work, exhibits a lavish lifestyle despite their income or refuses to share information, it may warrant further investigation.
4. Review employee relationships
Fraud can sometimes involve collusion among employees. Pay attention to unusual alliances or close relationships between coworkers that might indicate they are working together to commit fraud. Trust your instincts if something seems off.
5. Analyze inventory discrepancies
For organizations that deal with physical products, inventory discrepancies can be a clear sign of fraud. Frequent stock shortages or inconsistencies between reported and actual inventory levels could indicate theft or embezzlement.
If you notice any of these signs or suspect fraud in your workplace, it is important to report your concerns to the appropriate authorities. In 42% of fraud cases, detection happened from tips, more than half of which came from employees.