UK business report confirms reduction in fraud – but now is not a time to relax

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Annual reports from BDO’s Fraud Track states that fraudulent activity cost the UK almost £750 million in the last year. But while this is a reduction from previous years figures, this could simply be due to lack of reporting, with only an estimated 1 in 50 cases likely to be reported. In addition, BDO admit that their figures only examine cases with a value of over £50,000, the total annual cost of fraud could be as much as £37.5 billion.

It is not time to rest on our laurels. Businesses have a lot going on in these highly legislative times; companies are still recovering from the implementation of GDPR in 2018, as well as juggling the uncertainty around Brexit. But despite all this, employers must ensure that they are protecting their business at every level.

With recruitment fraud recently described as costing companies £23.9 billion in a report carried out by Crowe UK and University of Portsmouth, the hiring process can leave employers highly vulnerable to fraud.

False qualifications, fictitious references and exaggerated claims can all expose businesses to financial and reputational damage. A CV check of 5,000 employees in one company found more than three-quarters of staff members had some form of discrepancies on their CV. 12 per cent of those surveyed were found to have falsified grades.

While a little white lie might seem an innocent way of getting ahead in a competitive job market, it can still have serious repercussions across the business. And the intentions of all applicants might not be quite so innocuous. Criminals can and do target businesses at every level, from small time scammers with debt problems or a past grievance against the company, through to international fraud rings involved in arms, money laundering or extortion.

Companies should continue to screen staff throughout their employment. Things change, roles change, and a clean bill of CV and criminal history health at the recruitment stage might not be enough to see an employee through their entire work period.

Having a robust screening procedure in place can help protect employers from potentially dangerous staff. A specialist screening provider will ensure that candidates and current staff are who they say they are and have completed the necessary qualifications.

A great employee can drive your business and provide many years of loyal service. However, complacency during the hiring process and beyond could expose your business, your staff and your customers to serious risk.