Improving counter fraud - dealing with today’s threats

City of London
Posted by: Glenn Goodwin | Last modified on 20/05/2016


Glenn Goodwin, one of the Economic Crime Academy’s experts, discusses how to get to grips with fraud.


Whatever business or part of public service you’re in, your organisation is losing money to Fraud. 


One of the most common phrases heard in the consultancy and advisory worlds is variations on “we don’t have fraud here”.  Unfortunately it’s also universally untrue; fraud exists in every walk of life and at varying degrees of severity.


The most important aspect of counter-fraud work is to accept that fraud either is happening or is going to happen.  It is true that certain types of fraud are less likely to affect your business than others, but regardless of your business and risk profile it is likely that investing in counter-fraud capability will produce a good return.


Today’s professionals are faced with a more sophisticated threat.  Fraudsters are becoming much more organised.  We see significant levels of planning and co-ordination, with criminal’s tactics constantly changing.  These groups respond to corporate and police interventions quickly and rapidly adapt to take advantage of new or different opportunities.


In keeping with this more sophisticated approach, criminals are becoming much more technically capable, and cyber-based risks now play a particularly significant role within fraud.  Fraudsters put huge efforts into compromising computers to steal personal and financial data; they use social networking to build trust then either dupe or coerce their victims – and this effort offers significant reward if unchecked.  They increasingly operate across borders, knowing the possible advantages of differing jurisdictions and legal systems in hiding profits, and using a vast array of channels to throw off attempts to recover loss.   


The constant changes require you to put resources into staying on top of your game.  There are a couple of ways to do this:


  • Increasing your awareness of anti fraud, bribery and corruption measures. Developing and implementing proactive measures and programmes across both your business and if possible across your industry will have a huge impact in terms of target hardening.  Simply put, if you’re constantly assessing and addressing risks then you’ll be making yourselves much more difficult for criminals to work with. 


  • Increasing the skills base of your professional fraud investigators.  Although target hardening and preventative measures are excellent both in terms of protection and deterrence, you also need a strong investigative capability to deal with incidents of fraud.  Investigators should be undertaking enhanced investigation training programmes to ensure that they have a thorough understanding of the investigative processes and strategies required for the effective investigation of fraud, bribery and corruption. Their skills must include cyber awareness and knowledge of themoney laundering process and legislation to adequately handle contemporary threats 



Professional training such as the ACFS/ACFTech qualifications are key elements in the raising the professional standards of fraud investigators. They bring focus and a benchmark of skills across the Counter Fraud Community.


For Fraud Investigators the challenge lies in keeping up with this changing landscape, particularly dealing with criminals with cyber skills who operate from overseas with false identities. The opportunities lie in identifying/capturing best practice and sharing that operational learning across organisations who have a responsibility for investigating such matters. With Cybercrime activities on the rise across all areas of society and business we have to take the fight to the fraudster as a matter of priority.