COVID-19: Key steps to be prepared for fraud

The COVID-19 crisis has seen an increase in fraud and financial crime.  As a result, alongside ensuring continuity in operations and stabilising trading, businesses need to consider how they can be impacted by fraud.

Our brief guide below sets out some steps businesses can take to help prepare for and emerge stronger from the disruption cause by potential fraud and financial crime.

1) Remote working

In order to ensure continuity in operations during the COVID-19 crisis, most businesses have had to adapt quickly to remote working which has resulted in employees carrying out daily tasks and exchanging confidential data in less controlled and secured environments.  By having robust IT infrastructure, security and privacy policies will minimise the exposure to potential fraud and theft of confidential data.

2) Employee awareness

Businesses need to reassure employees of their value as anti-fraud partners and educate them about social engineering and email attack techniques. Any staff working remotely should be aware of what is expected of them, what resources are available to them and what internal policies and procedures they need to follow.

3) Stakeholder communication

It is critical that you inform the entire stakeholder group (including external parties) as soon as possible of any risks of or instances of identified fraudulent activity, prevention strategies and contingency plans.  Alongside raising awareness of threats being faced by the business, this will limit any reputational damage.

4) Supply chain and business partners

Businesses can sometimes be subjected to fraud by vendors or due to lack of support from business partners.  Businesses need to make sure that they know who their vendors and business partners are, whether they are facing any financial difficulties, if they can provide ongoing maintenance and support and if they have adapted their business to deal with challenges arising from COVID-19.

5) Specialist support and tools

Depending on the level of exposure to fraud and financial crime being faced by the business, businesses can engage the help of specialists or use tools/technology that can detect fraud at an early stage or before it even occurs.

For more information please get in touch with Asim Sheikh here.

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