12 frauds of Christmas

It’s that time of the year when it’s the season to be jolly. Unfortunately, not everyone is…here are 12 fraud risks of Christmas and our tips on how to avoid them to keep you and / or your organisation protected.
On the first day of Christmas, a supplier gave to me, a gift (or was it a bribe?):
  • remind yourself and your staff of your organisation’s gifts and hospitality policy.
On the second day of Christmas, someone sent to me, an e-card:
  • before getting too excited, check to see where it has come from. If it is from someone anonymous, delete it from your inbox and deleted items in case it is infected and make sure your anti‐virus product is up-to-date.
On the third day of Christmas, a member of staff gave to me, their expenses form:
  • double check to ensure all purchases and expenses are in-line with your policies.
On the fourth day of Christmas, staffing shortages gave to me, a breakdown in the segregation of duties:
  • fraudsters hit at Christmas and peak holiday seasons, hoping to get past checking and authorisation controls, so check drops in staffing levels to avoid leaving opportunities for fraud open.
On the fifth day of Christmas, a colleague gave to me, their password in case there might be any problems over the holiday period:
  • the simple advice here is passwords must never be shared.
On the sixth day of Christmas, a ‘too good to be true’ offer was made to me, for tickets to an event:
  • this year, over 3,000 fraudulent ticketing matters were reported to the police (average value £444);
  • always go to the official website to find a list of authorised sellers, research the company and make sure it’s their website; and
  • beware of previously sold out tickets that have appeared for sale and be cautious of telephone numbers starting 070 or 004470 as they can be set up on the internet and handled anywhere in the world.
On the seventh day of Christmas, a prospective employee gave to me, their brilliant CV:
  • the UK has one of the highest rates of CV fraud in the world. Fraudsters will use seasonal demands for part-time staff / agency workers etc. to slip through pre-employment screening.
On the eighth day of Christmas, a supplier gave to me, their changed bank account details:
  • mandate fraud is still a significant risk for all organisations; and
  • check, check and check again who you are dealing with. Make sure staff (especially temporary staff) are made aware of mandate fraud and how to prevent it.
On the ninth day of Christmas, someone gave to me, an invoice:
  • watch out for ‘fresh air’, double or over-inflated invoices this time of year – fraudsters know your staffing levels are low and controls might slip a bit, or you may draft in junior / agency staff to support your accounts payables.
On the tenth day of Christmas, a charity collector gave to me, a plastic bag to fill with clothes:
  • did you check the details to see if it’s a registered charity? Fraudsters use this tactic to collect clothing and shoes which they can then sell on to make a profit whilst charities suffer the loss of donations.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, a kind mystery benefactor gave to me, a very large cash donation:
  • he then rang me to say it was a mistake and could he have a cheque please for 50% of the original donation, or if not, could I transfer 50% of it to another ‘charity’?  Well 50%’s not a bad price to pay to launder proceeds of crime.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my organisation dismissed me because I ignored some of the above:
  • trust is not a control and it’s your responsibility to ensure fraud does not happen because of your failure to adhere to policies and procedures. B’ah humbug!
For any assistance with fraud and bribery controls within your organisation, please contact your usual Moore Stephens contact.

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