Fraud is a serious matter – and it can have devastating consequences for the victims. If you suspect somebody is defrauding your business, it is essential to move fast. Whether it’s an employee, a customer, or a supplier, their actions could have legal repercussions on you. Here’s what you need to think about if you have any suspicions.
Set up an investigation
Any investigation into fraud should be done without the suspected party involved. If they think something is up, then they are likely to avoid doing anything else, and might even try and cover up their actions. The idea is to gather evidence, and you may benefit from hiring a private investigator in certain circumstances. For example, if you simply can’t get the evidence you need to hand over to the police, or if the suspect is a member of your leadership team.
Let’s get one thing straight here. The investigation should be a process of finding out the truth.This isn’t the time for theory or suspicion. It will be up to you to prove your claim, and facts and robust evidence gathering is the only way to do it. There’s a lot at stake – so don’t make wild accusations before you understand the reality.
Speak to individuals
If there are any individuals that can help your case, then speak to them. It’s best to do this in an one on one basis, as it will allow people to talk to you privately, and they may be more willing to share information with you. Again, this process is about gathering evidence that you can pass on to the relevant authorities. So, be careful about what you believe and ensure there is proof to back it up.
People will get their chance to tell their version of the story – but bear in mind that, at the moment, it is just a story. It may well be that the accused party comes clean, and it will be down to you what action you want to take. If they have been stealing from you, for example, you might feel that firing them is the cleanest option. However, if those thefts have occurred over an extended period, you may want to pursue your legal options.
Taking the next step
If the fraudulent actions are complicated and extreme, it is best to give all your evidence to the police and let them deal with it. This will give you the best chance of success, and will also help you distance yourself from the activity. It could be damaging to you if an employee has been syphoning customer’s money, for example, and you need to look out for your business.
You should also make sure that the fraud will never take place again. The whole affair should have given you some clues about where your processes have been falling down. Perhaps you could screen your employees better in the future? Or maybe there is a more secure way of taking your customer’s money?
Fraud is a serious crime, and it is essential that your business does all it can to prevent it. The consequences can cost you a lot of money – and it could also damage your reputation.