ACFE Public Relations Specialist
Years ago, the ACFE’s grassroots fraud awareness campaign, International Fraud Awareness Week, was held during our Annual Fraud Conference and Exhibition. In 2006, I remember seeing hundreds of conference attendees sporting “I’m a Fraud Fighter!” stickers and grabbing literature to take back to their companies, clients and chapters to help spread the word. Over time, though, we realized that Fraud Week (for short) deserved its own spotlight. The next year, Fraud Week was moved to November, and the movement really took off, with hundreds of organizations partnering with the ACFE to support the effort.
Since then, Wal-Mart, USAA, Coca-Cola and Deloitte are just a few of the businesses that have signed on as official partners for this important campaign, in addition to government agencies including the Secret Service, U.S. Dept. of Justice and the U.S. Dept. of Labor. The best thing about International Fraud Awareness Week, though, is that any organization can get involved – it doesn’t cost anything to sign up, and the ACFE shares resources with all of the official supporters to help them in their anti-fraud activities. Every year on FraudWeek.com we post downloadable resources, including the Fraud Prevention Check-up, Fraud IQ Quiz and educational presentations focused on fraud prevention and detection.
This year, International Fraud Awareness Week is Nov. 6-12. I encourage you to get your company involved, and take the initiative to make an impact during the week, whether by hosting fraud awareness training for your employees and/or the community, conducting employee surveys to assess levels of fraud awareness within your organization, posting articles on your website and newsletters and/or teaming with local media to highlight the problem of fraud.
The problem is an urgent one, as fraud schemes are extremely costly:
- The median loss caused by the occupational fraud cases studied in the ACFE’s 2010 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse.
- Schemes can continue for months or even years before they are detected, lasting a median of 18 months before being caught.
- Small businesses are especially vulnerable to occupational fraud. These organizations are typically lacking in anti-fraud controls compared to their larger counterparts.
- Occupational frauds are much more likely to be detected by tips than by any other means. This finding reinforces the need for promoting awareness to foster an informed workforce.
Check out FraudWeek.com to learn more.