Fraud Alert - Ohio CPA FirmWhen was the last time you said the f-word? I say it every day – to my co-workers, to my clients, to rooms full of conference attendees. Sometimes it even slips out in front of my family.

Don’t worry – unlike the f-word you’re thinking about, this one is safe to say in public places. In fact, we should be talking about it more.

You’ve worked hard to build your business. You have relationships with your employees and customers. And it’s terrifying to think that a single f-word– fraud – could take that all away.

Yes, fraud happens. It can even happen to you.

One of the most effective way to reduce your risk of occupational fraud is through a fraud reporting hotline.

In its most recent version of The Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners analyzed 1,483 cases of occupational fraud – 42 percent of which were detected by tips made through a fraud reporting hotline. Numerous studies have shown that professionally staffed, 24/7 hotlines are the most effective way to identify fraud in your organization, as it provides employees with a secure, anonymous way to report any suspicious activity they may witness.

Internal protection against fraud

Some employers feel that a fraud reporting hotline conveys a message of distrust in employees … but that’s not the case. Having a fraud hotline in place only reinforces the fact that there is a team of loyal, hard-working professionals surrounding you. These men and women are the eyes and ears of your organization – they’re the ones on the front lines each and every day, and they are the ones who are most likely to see or suspect fraud firsthand.

But if they don’t know who to tell, they tell no one. Or, if they just have a hunch that someone’s committing fraud and no real, concrete evidence, they might keep quiet until they’re sure – which could result in greater losses.

When you give employees an outlet to report fraud anonymously, you’re helping ensure that they will feel comfortable coming forward if they notice something amiss, without feeling like they’re placing a target on themselves or betraying a coworker – who may also be a friend.

Does your organization have a system in place to identify and investigate fraud? If not, consider implementing one as soon as possible to reduce the risk to not only your assets, but your employees and reputation as well.

This is part four of a five-part series about things you can do to reduce risk within your small business. Click here to read other articles in the series.

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