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Coronavirus: Pandemic proof your business against internal fraud

2 October 2020

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has changed working conditions for employees across the world, with employers being encouraged to let their employees work from home where possible.

With less surveillance on employees working from home as opposed to working in the office, the chances of compromising customer data becomes a lot easier. This can include writing down bank or credit card numbers or other personal data that employees can use or sell to criminal gangs. Fraud does not have to be a physical theft of cash or data, it can also take place as falsified time sheets and claiming for overtime that was not actually carried out.

Sadly there has been a degree of trust which has been lost with employees working from home, which means that even the most honest employees can come under some scrutiny due to the actions of a dishonest few.

A poll from our Cifas Annual Conference indicates that levels of fraud may be on the rise and that certain types of fraud might become more ‘acceptable’ to the public amid the pandemic and economic downturn.

63% of Cifas conference attendees said that consumers would be more likely to see fraud as ‘acceptable’ due to the economic downturn and over 90% believed that levels of fraud would be much higher in 2020 when compared with 2019.

There is no doubt that the UK will continue to experience economic uncertainty in 2021 and that is likely to contribute to higher levels of both consumer and employee fraud as people struggle with their finances.

When we eventually return to some sort of normality, employers will need to ensure that they are protected against employees who feel aggrieved that they are working in the office, paying for travel and working longer hours compared to their colleagues who are free to work from home. This can create an opportunity for employees to commit fraud against their employer in order to ‘take what they feel they are owed.’

Advice to businesses at this time

Cifas recommends that organisations carry out regular monitoring of their employees throughout the employee lifecycle. There should be stringent controls in place with regards to access and audit trail and employers need to ensure that employees only have the level of access required to undertake their role.

The following advice will help businesses stay protected:

  • ACCESS – Only give employees the system access required to do their role and always check the level of access required.
  • MONITOR – Monitor staff activity and undertake an enhanced screening such as regular Cifas Internal Fraud Database checks, which are at no additional fee.
  • REPORT – Confirmed fraud risks should be filed to the Cifas Internal Fraud Database.

Preventing internal fraud before it happens

The Cifas Internal Fraud Enhanced Database can help you stay safe against potential threats to your organisation. It is the only database in the UK that records instances of fraudulent conduct by job applicants and employees in the workforce. The National Fraud Database hold records of first and third party fraud risk data such as identity fraud, false insurance claims, application fraud and misuse of facility.

Cifas members can screen their candidates and employees against over 750,000 instances of confirmed fraud risk covering both employee and consumer data to ensure that their employees integrity is not in question.

Posted by: Tracey Carpenter

Tracey is Cifas' Insider Threat Manager


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Posted by: Tracey Carpenter

Tracey is Cifas' Insider Threat Manager