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Silence of the scams

Fraud has never been so international or so professional – and businesses are the major target. Ros Wright has some tips on stopping fraud occurring either within or against your organisation.

When the notorious American bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he targeted banks, he pointed out, “That’s where the money is”.

Today’s bank (and corporate) robbers use much more subtle and less physically dangerous weapons than Sutton’s Thompson sub-machine gun, but in a single fraudulent transaction they are able to get away with much more than Sutton’s lifetime Silence of the scams haul of $2m. Career criminals have realised the gains to be made in financial crime. As markets cross borders, so too does the fraud that feeds on them.

Fraudsters on the other side of the world can and do attack British businesses without even setting foot in the UK, at virtually no risk of detection and still less of prosecution and penalty. So while the recession has hit businesses hard, trading losses are being compounded by the rise in fraud directed at the commercial and financial sectors.

Today’s financial criminal’s weapon of choice is deception. Using the latest in information technology, sophisticated psychological techniques and chutzpah, fraudsters persuade and inveigle their way into your (and your clients’) assets. The rate of fraud is rising inexorably year on year.

This is an extract from the Finance & Management Magazine, Issue 197, March 2012.

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