Fraud Fighters are Tackling a Pandemic


By Emily Primeaux
Assistant Editor, Fraud Magazine

"In case you haven't noticed, and I'm sure you have, fraud has become pandemic around the world," said Jeffrey Robinson, bestselling author and international expert on organized crime and fraud, in his keynote session at the 2016 ACFE Fraud Conference Middle East in Dubai, February 14-15. "I mean seriously, it has become pandemic. If fraud were a disease, political leaders of all our nations would have to declare a global health emergency."

And why has fraud spread like this? According to Robinson, it's not getting the attention it should. "If you are Bernie Madoff and you've stolen 50 billion dollars, yeah, that does get an awful lot of attention." But it only garnered attention after the fact — after $50 billion had been stolen and even though the clues were there all along.

"The problem is that except for you guys, the ACFE, no one's really paying attention to it." Robinson went on to highlight law enforcement's priorities. The No. 1 priority for law enforcement is terrorism, then drug trafficking, followed by firearms and then sex offenses. "Yet fraud, if you put a monetary value on fraud, it's second only to drug trafficking of all the crimes. It's right up there with drug trafficking. But it's really far down on the list of crimes that get investigated."

But people aren't reporting fraud either. Businesses that get hit by fraud feel embarrassed and don't want to report it to their shareholders. Individuals that suffer a loss from fraud feel violated or stupid, and decide to forget about it because of the feeling of foolishness for allowing it to happen in the first place.

Robinson referred to this as a "two-way street crime." For a fraudster to be really successful, the victim has to cooperate in some way, and that's why victims "feel so stupid." For example, take a victim of a hacking that used the word "password" as their password. They've easily set themselves up to become a victim of fraud.

Robinson explained that the best defense any company can have when it comes to fraud is total transparency. Remove the theory of "unshareable problems." Pay attention to your employees. Help them. Tell your people that you're going to share in their problems.

Robinson finished by expressing the value of fraud fighters. "If it weren't for you — and I am so high on this organization, because you're really the only people standing in the way of the fraudsters and havoc — if it weren't for you asking at every turn ‘How come nobody died?' the 21st century is guaranteed to belong to the fraudsters. You're my heroes."

Read more about the first-ever ACFE Middle East Fraud Conference on