Business Fraud

I’m in business. What should I look out for?

Fraudsters have developed a number of ways to target your business accounts. These criminals could be working from outside or within your organisation. They could be working alone or part of a larger network, possibly with links to organised crime or terrorism. Below are some of the means they use.

Telegraphic transfer

Criminals send a request for the transfer of money from your account, known as a telegraphic transfer request. These often originate from other countries.
The fraudsters compromise your account in some way, obtaining your account details. Then they’ll send a letter to your bank, requesting a telegraphic transfer of funds to another bank account, which is usually a legitimate business account, to pay for an order of goods.
When that business receives the funds, they unwittingly dispatch the goods to the fraudsters.

Insiders

Recent investigations into major cases involving identity theft, impersonation and the take-over of customer accounts have shown that many cases depend on the complicity of collusive employees.
Known as 'insiders', these employees are unlikely to be working independently and more often than not are part of a larger, organised group obtaining personal details from various sources.
If compromised within one business, they will often be re-positioned into similar employment with access to the same material and the same potential to inflict financial loss.
They are especially valuable to the criminal fraternity while working at bank counters, as they can serve the 'foot soldiers' sent out to present stolen or counterfeit cheques or withdraw cash in fraudulent card transactions. This instantly negates the need for detailed, credible identity documentation to be produced and other preventative systems can be over-ridden.

Employees

As well as placing people within your organisation, be aware that criminals do also try to recruit existing employees. They typically target specific workers and make their initial approaches in a social setting, such as in a pub. Often, employees inadvertently give away a few pieces of seemingly harmless information in conversation and due to their worry that they have committed a crime can be coupled with threats of violence if your employees do not agree to provide the information which the criminals need.

What should I do if I suspect an employee?

If you have concerns over your employees’ intentions, whether in banks, building societies, foreign exchange bureaus or the less obvious but increasingly common call centres or mobile phone companies, think twice before you act.
Understandably, companies have concerns about their liability should a suspected individual be allowed to continue their activities, even though monitored. But we would urge you to take a long-term view.
Simply confronting and sacking an individual is only a short-term solution. It’s an approach that has come back to haunt many businesses who have released an employee without taking them to task, particularly where that individual’s new employer starts asking questions.
We urge all businesses to report such concerns to the police as early as possible. Often, when we are brought in at the eleventh hour so much evidence can have been lost, along with any chance of identifying other collusive employees or the organisers.
Notifying us early will mean we can employ a number of sophisticated techniques to explore the problem without alerting the suspect and hopefully prevent them and their associates moving on to new ground.

How can I prevent my employees from being recruited as insiders?

One of the best prevention methods is education and, along with setting up whistle blowing facilities, there are few more cautionary methods than to make an example of a collusive employee and keep their previous work colleagues informed of their progress through the criminal justice system.
Contact us if you would like more information on things you can do to support employees who may have come under pressure from criminals to pass information.

I’ve been asked to pass on information. What should I do?
You could earn a community action award by contacting one of the following:

Crimestoppers:

Crime Stoppers

Fraud Prevention Helpful Hints
• Issue a statement of company integrity. This should provide a clear message from the boardroom about the organisation's legal and ethical values
• Develop an anti-fraud policy and culture which ensures that commercially prudent measures are taken. This should be determined by management, and be commensurate with operational activity
• Know your staff. Many frauds are committed in collusion with staff. Check CVs and take up references. The more sensitive the holder's position, the more detailed your enquiry should be. When staff move within an organisation, remember to change their computer and building access level
• Encourage a whistle-blowing philosophy within your company. Very often other employees know or suspect something but do nothing about it
• Have broadly-based and effective contingency and recovery plans. Have powers vested in managers to cancel or freeze transactions as soon as fraud is discovered. Undue delay often means that funds have been transferred beyond reach
• Take a hard line on culprits. Give a clear message that they will be caught, prosecuted and, where necessary, pursued through the civil courts to recover losses.