Why employee education is the key to tackling business fraud

Our fraud awareness specialist, Alasdair Stewart, provides insights into why workplace education is the most important tool in the fight against business fraud.

Every year, fraud costs UK businesses hundreds of millions of pounds. The problem has become so great that the levels of fraud in the UK now represent “a national security threat,” according to Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, a collective voice for the banking and finance industry.

One of the biggest vulnerabilities a business might face is a lack of awareness about the various fraud and scam threats out there, and the huge impacts they could have on businesses. 

It’s not if, but when fraud will affect a business

Alasdair Stewart
Strategic Fraud Analyst

Sometimes processes such as dual authorisation and independent verification can be viewed by staff as a hindrance to completing tasks, but if the purpose of these measures is properly understood, it’s more likely that employees will adhere to them.

How to promote fraud education in your business

  • Give regular updates so employees know how to identify red-flag behaviours
  • Make employees aware of the risks of both internal and external fraud, and how these feed into company processes
  • Make sure new employees are educated immediately – they are potentially more vulnerable
  • Avoid complacency – processes may be in place, but give regular reinforcement to be sure that staff follow them consistently
  • Be aware of how employees prefer to receive education – a blended learning experience is most likely to achieve engagement 

Alasdair Stewart, our strategic fraud analyst, says: “Education helps by putting fraud at the front of people’s minds – it can positively influence the behaviours and culture within an organisation.

“We want to drive home to businesses that it’s not if, but when fraud will affect them and educate them to what they can do to mitigate the damage that can occur.

“The volumes of fraud are already greater than they ever were and they’re only increasing, so the more we can do to counter that and get the right cultures and mindsets in place, the better.”

Educating staff about fraud

Our free online training course, which consists of a series of blended-learning modules, covers the essentials of business fraud detection and defence. We also offer a series of webinars to help you stay up to date with the latest developments in the fight against fraud.

“Tone from the top is so important,” says Alasdair. “People need to be comfortable talking about fraud within their organisations and they need to be confident challenging colleagues if they have a concern.”

Fraud can occur at any time, to any size or type of business, and even with an educated staff, mistakes can happen. Having an open and ongoing dialogue with employees is key to keeping your defences up.

Crucially, educating staff about fraud is highly effective – attending fraud webinars or completing an online fraud awareness course significantly reduces the chances of being negatively affected, says Alasdair.

Revisit your fraud strategy

It pays to revisit your fraud awareness strategy and create an action plan to cope with existing and emerging threats. Then it’s vital that employees are kept up to date with new developments, and that the aims of the plan are continually reinforced.

“There’s no silver bullet,” says Alasdair. “Fighting business fraud has to be a constant cycle of education and reinforcement of the messages. It’s important to be continually updating your knowledge.

“But we know the positive impact that fraud education has, so we encourage businesses to follow our advice and educate staff. Processes are only as good as the people following them, so it’s the key to success.”

Fighting Fraud Together

You can start learning how to protect your business from fraud by taking our free e-learning course. Simply follow this link and select ‘Start your learning now.’

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