Technical helpsheet issued to provide information about the ICAEW Fraud Advisory Helpline.
This helpsheet has been issued by ICAEW’s Technical Advisory Service to provide information about the ICAEW Fraud Advisory Helpline. This is an anonymous telephone service offering supportive practical advice to ICAEW members, affiliates, ICAEW students and staff in eligible firms with member firm access. The service provides support to members who have been victims of fraud themselves (either in their business or personally), or members who are not sure how to support clients who have been victims of fraud.
What is fraud
Definitions of fraud can vary but broadly it is an act using dishonesty or deception to disadvantage, deprive or cause loss to another party. It may be committed by making false representations, failing to disclose information and/or abusing a position of trust.
It is generally accepted that there are three main elements to fraud: motivation, opportunity, and rationalisation. In recent years we have seen an increased likelihood of all three of these elements and so an increase in fraudulent activity. We have seen a growth in people shopping and socialising online, higher numbers of people working remotely, more digital charity appeals, higher levels of financial uncertainty, as well as businesses and individuals feeling the pressure to protect their livelihoods and their employees. All of these factors increase the risk of seeing more perpetrators and more victims of fraud.
How our members could be exposed to fraud
Members may find themselves to be victims of fraud, either personally or within their professional lives.
It may be that you have been the victim of a fraud in your personal life and are not sure where to turn for support. It could be that you have been caught up in a boiler room scam, been impacted by a romance fraud or purchased goods through a fake website.
Alternatively, it may be that your company or practice has been attacked by phishing emails, be suffering a ransomware attack, or you may be asked to support a client who has suffered a loss or attack.
However you, or perhaps your client, have been approached, and however great the loss is to you, or to them, victims of crime often feel embarrassed or blame themselves for being “fooled”. These emotions are completely normal and understandable, but we cannot underestimate the ongoing innovative and intelligent approaches taken by fraudsters. When individuals are under more stress, dealing with new situations, or are just busier than normal, they are more susceptible to fraudsters.
How ICAEW can help
The ICAEW Fraud Advisory Helpline provides an anonymous, confidential telephone line to provide support and guidance to members, where they, or their clients, have been victims of fraud.
The helpline can provide technical guidance around whether a fraud has taken place, and whether there are reporting routes available, whilst considering the potential conflicts with confidentiality.
While we are not legal experts, we can discuss the potential legal options for redress and point members to other services and resources where they can obtain continued support.
The impacts of fraud are not just financial – impacts can be emotional and social. Everyone can be susceptible at some point in their lives.
Above all, we will provide a non-judgemental listening ear as a first port of call to any member who has encountered fraud. Being a victim of fraud, by whatever mechanism, can be a traumatic and stressful time and there should be no shame attached. Fraudulent activity is more prevalent than most people are aware. No ICAEW member should be unsure what to do in the event of a fraud – if at all in doubt – contact the Fraud Advisory Helpline for guidance.
Note, where you suspect your client of fraudulent activity or you are under pressure in your role in business to become involved in fraudulent activity ICAEW’s Ethics Advisory Service is available to support and provide guidance.
If in doubt seek advice
ICAEW members, affiliates, ICAEW students and staff in eligible firms with member firm access can discuss their specific situation with the Fraud Advisory Helpline on +44 (0)1908 248 250. This is an anonymous service so is only currently available via the phone lines.
If you suspect you suspect your client of fraudulent activity or you are under pressure in your role in business to become involved in fraudulent activity, please contact ICAEW Ethics Advisory Service anonymously on +44 (0)1908 248 250.
© ICAEW 2023 All rights reserved.
ICAEW cannot accept responsibility for any person acting or refraining to act as a result of any material contained in this helpsheet. This helpsheet is designed to alert members to an important issue of general application. It is not intended to be a definitive statement covering all aspects but is a brief comment on a specific point.
ICAEW members have permission to use and reproduce this helpsheet on the following conditions:
- This permission is strictly limited to ICAEW members only who are using the helpsheet for guidance only.
- The helpsheet is to be reproduced for personal, non-commercial use only and is not for re-distribution.
For further details members are invited to telephone the Technical Advisory Service T +44 (0)1908 248250. The Technical Advisory Service comprises the technical enquiries, ethics advice, anti-money laundering and fraud helplines. For further details visit icaew.com/tas.