Kickbacks return a portion of the money exchanged in a business transaction as compensation for favorable treatment. They’re illegal, but you may have trouble identifying kickbacks because they’re often disguised as gifts, travel or entertainment. The main difference is the gift-giver’s intent. Your employees shouldn’t accept gifts offered to improperly influence business decisions or that […]

An employee’s undisclosed conflict of interest can be a serious breach of fiduciary duty to an employer. In fact, when conflicts of interest exist, companies often suffer financial consequences. Uncovering conflicts, particularly when employees are profiting from them, can be difficult. Instead, focus on prevention. Create and communicate a conflict of interest policy that contains […]

Despite the National Do Not Call registry and features such as caller ID, phone fraud is thriving in the mobile phone era. Using spoofed numbers — which appear to be connected to legitimate government offices and businesses or that resemble your own number — fraud perpetrators say anything and everything to try to steal your […]

Defrauded companies lose a median $130,000. But construction companies are hit even harder, with a median loss of $227,000. What can you do to protect your construction business? Tighten your internal controls. In addition to conducting surprise audits, segregate duties — meaning that more than one person handles accounting tasks. Require employee vacations, and have […]

surgeon hand with scalpel during surgery

When people hear the term “forensic science,” they usually think “CSI.” What comes to mind when you hear the term “forensic accounting”? Similar to forensic scientists offering opinions about scientific matters, forensic accountants may be called on to investigate and serve as financial experts in commercial litigation. Here’s how. Who they are Forensic accountants specialize […]

Business owners and executives commit only 19% of all occupational fraud, but they cause a median loss of $850,000, vs. $100,000 for regular employees. So spotting red flags is critical. Crooked executives may be reluctant to cooperate with internal investigations, outside auditors and regulators, and may become agitated or annoyed when probed about financial discrepancies. […]

It should come as no surprise that cash (including checks that are easily cashed) is the most popular target of fraud perpetrators. Once stolen, cash is virtually untraceable. But fraud experts have tools to unearth these schemes, particularly fraudulent disbursements. To confirm overbilling, experts might investigate accounts with no tangible deliverables and examine returned checks […]

Buying a home is stressful enough without having to worry about hackers. But homebuyers should be on the lookout for home closing wire fraud. In these schemes, thieves hijack the email accounts of real estate agents, title companies, attorneys or lenders, and then email homebuyers instructing them to wire funds. To avoid becoming victims, buyers […]