Have you been a victim of fraud before? If no, do you want to learn how to avoid been a victim of fraud? Do you want to learn how to prevent fraud in your business? Then read on as i share with you the top ten best ways to prevent been a victim of fraud.
Being a victim of fraud or losing something valuable to fraudsters is a very painful experience. I have almost fallen a victim of fraud in the past but i guess luck was on my side. However, my dad wasn’t so lucky as he lost a very huge sum of money in a business deal with a fraudster posing as a man of God. While i don’t want to go into details of what happen, i want to draw on the experience gathered to share with you some tips that will help you avoid being a victim of fraud.
How to Prevent Fraud in your Small Business
1. Control your Greed
Well, there is a popular saying that if something sounds too good to be true, then it is definitely too good to be true. One thing that pushes people forward in a deal even when there are warning signs all over that deal is greed. I strongly believe that greed is the winning factor a con man always looks out for. If you can control your greed, you will never fall for any scam.
2. Knowing who you are dealing with
Don’t do business with anonymous individuals. You must endeavor to find a seller’s physical address (not P.O Box) and phone number. With internet phone services and other web based technologies, it will be tough to tell where a person is calling from. Do an online search for the company name and website, and look for reviews. If negative experiences are being reported by people, you now have to decide if the offer is worth the risk. After all, a deal is always good only if you get a product that actually works as promised.
3. Note that wiring money is like sending cash
Don’t send money through untraceable media such as wire transfer, Western Union or MoneyGram without first verifying the authenticity of the deal and the individual involved. People wire money as often insisted by Con artists, especially overseas, because it is closely impossible to reverse the transaction or tracing the money. Do not wire money to unknown people, especially to sellers who insist on wire transfers for payment, or to any person who is claiming to be a relative or friend in an emergency and wants to keep the request a secret.
4. Always read your monthly statements
Scammers will always steal account information and then run up charges or commit crimes in your name. Dishonest merchants will bill you for monthly ‘membership fees’’ and other goods or services without your authorization. Worst still, your employees will steal from you and inflate the price of items purchased if they discover that you don’t bother to go through the books. So invest time to scan through your financial records regularly and when you see charges you do not recognize or do not welcome, contact your bank, card issuer, or other creditors immediately.
5. Place a withdrawal limit on your bank account
Yea, you can stem the growth of fraud within your organization by placing a withdrawal limit on your account and instructing your bank to contact you when someone tries to withdraw above the limit.
How to Prevent Fraud in your Business
6. Investing comes with a risk; never forget that
If your are contacted with any low-risk, high-return investment opportunities, please stay away. When you receive a pitch that is urging you to act immediately, offers you a guarantee of big profits and promises little/no financial risk, please take your money and run.
7. Make sure that the staff handling account receivable is different from the staff handling account payable.
8. Do not accept a check and wire money back
By law, banks will have to make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. You are responsible for the checks you deposited: if a check turns out to be a fake one, you are going to be responsible for paying back the bank. No matter how convincing the story, someone who overpays with a check is almost certainly a scam artist so be careful.
9. Setting a clear standard
The best way to help safeguard a business is to set clear standards from the beginning. This involves an appropriate example and ethical tone, starting from the top down. An employee manual can be of great help in establishing the principles and values to guide your organization. An employee manual levels the playing field and keeps the rules from becoming arbitrary. The rule is applied to all. If someone is dismissed and you discover yourself in court, the manual is capable of being a reference that will explain what actions will warrant dismissal.
10. Checking Employees References
Before hiring a new employee, always check references and perform background checks that include past employment, licensing, credit and criminal history. The cost of doing this is always far outweighed by the benefit. For instance, as a business owner, you should be cautious of hiring a bookkeeper or accountant with bad credit because the weight of crippling financial duties could turn an otherwise honest person into a thief.
How to Prevent Fraud in your Business
11. Secure your organization
Make use of renumbered checks as this will enable you to audit for missing checks. Also, checks clearing out of sequence could be spotted more easily. All checks should be kept under lock and key, and the keys should never be distributed. Other precautions include having a ‘’voided check’’ procedure and do not sign blank checks. All disbursements should be reviewed on regular basis. Scrutinize, and then scan checks made out to suppliers you do not recognize, checks made out to an amount for cash, checks appearing out of sequence and cross check missing numbers.
12. Always be in control of who reviews sensitive documents.
Small business owners should be in control of who first receives the bank statements and other sensitive documents. It is not far fetched for small business owner to have a separate post office box for the purpose of receiving bank statements, customary receipts or any other sensitive documents. This will assist to eliminate the possibility that someone intercepts the mail first for the purpose of stealing or covering up an earlier theft.
13. Do not send money to someone you do not know
Do not send money to an online seller that you have not heard of/or seen—or an online love interest who asks for money. It is best to do business with sites and persons you have known and trusted. If you purchase items through an online auction, consider making use of a payment option that will provide protection, like a credit card.
14. Do not play a foreign lottery
15. Do not reply to messages asking for personal or financial information.etc.
16. Safeguard your payroll
This is another chapter subject to abuse. Small-business owners and managers should take the extra time to review every payroll check personally. Although it is time consuming, this procedure will provide a monitor to assure employees are being paid appropriately. This could be especially important when a business has temporary and part-time staff. Although is not always possible in a small business, certain obligations should be maintained separately.
For example, the person who ‘cuts’’ or is in charge of the checks should not be the person who the authority to sign. The person opening the mail should not be the recorder of receivables and reconciliation of the accounts. Even a small business could take a step to separate relevant functions.
In conclusion, i believe the above listed precautions will go a long way in helping you prevent fraud in your business, so take it seriously.