Why an informed workforce is key in mitigating the risk of fraud
No matter its size, location or industry, every organisation is at risk of fraud. Cash, goods and data are all considered valuable to fraudsters – nothing is off-limits.
Fraud is not a victimless crime. It drains resources, impacts public services and can often be linked to other criminal activity or terrorism. Fraud is a broad term and covers a range of crimes against individuals, businesses, and government organisations.
Types of tenancy fraud
Some of the most common types of tenancy fraud include:
Tenancy fraud can take different forms. Some tenancy fraud is committed purely for profit and can be part of a wider organised crime syndicate. Other cases occur when family members or friends try to help each other by bypassing application processes or providing misleading information
• Misrepresentation of goods or services
• Pyramid schemes
• Phishing scams
• Counterfeit goods
• Identity theft
• Procurement fraud
• Payroll fraud
• Theft of cash or assets
• False accounting
• False expense claims
Against financial institutions
• Using lost and stolen credit cards
• Fraudulent insurance claims
• Mortgage fraud
• Data theft
Against government organisations
• Benefit fraud
• Tenancy fraud
• Tax evasion
• Money laundering
Despite the escalating risk of fraud and the significant financial and reputational damage that can result, many organisations do not have adequate processes and systems in place to prevent it.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to start combating fraud is by educating your workforce on how they can help prevent, detect and respond to fraud.
Once fraud has occurred, it can be difficult to reclaim the losses, and that’s why prevention is so important. Despite this, many organisations don’t have robust risk management strategies and processes.
Frontline staff can be instrumental in highlighting vulnerabilities in your processes and suggesting ways to mitigate risk. Fraud awareness training helps employees be more proactive in their approach to fraud prevention. Make fraud awareness training part of your fraud prevention strategy and encourage employees to discuss their concerns and ideas.
Although prevention is better than cure, you should also have a strategy for fraud detection. Detecting fraud early can prevent future losses. If the fraud is ongoing, you can put measures in place to catch fraudsters or deter them from repeating the offence.
When a one-off fraudulent activity has occurred, it may not be possible to recover losses, but you can use the experience to inform your fraud prevention strategy.
Fraud detection should be everyone’s responsibility, so your strategy must include training your entire workforce. The more informed your employees are, the easier it will be for them to spot early warning signs of suspicious activity.
Having clear whistleblowing policies and processes for reporting fraud is vital, but they will only be beneficial if staff know about them.
Do your employees know what to do if they identify potentially fraudulent activity? Are they aware of how to report their suspicions or gather and preserve evidence? Do they know the procedure for reporting a tip-off from a member of the public? Your employees must be aware of your reporting processes – this is an essential part of fraud prevention and detection.
Focus on Fraud Awareness for Housing Associations
Housing Associations can be targets for corporate fraudsters, including procurement fraud, cybercrime, theft, bribery and corruption. However, one of the biggest concerns is the growing increase in tenancy fraud.
In the UK, it is estimated that illegal sub-letting costs over £55m per annum, whilst fraudulent Acquire to Buy applications cost £92m.
But it’s not just the cost implications that make tenancy fraud such a concern. Many of society’s most vulnerable people rely on social housing, but tenancy fraud means they are often left on lengthy waiting lists instead of getting the safe homes they need. At Meritec, we have been helping public sector organisations to combat fraud for over 15 years. We’re proud to offer exceptional digital learning solutions and a range of effective eLearning programmes.
Building on our highly successful Fraud Awareness courses, we’re now able to offer a new digital learning course, Focus on Fraud Awareness for Housing Associations, that has been specifically developed for such organisations. As with all our learning solutions, Focus on Fraud Awareness for Housing Associations has been created in collaboration with subject matter experts and can be customised to the needs of individual organisations.
Benefits of Digital Learning
Online training is an extremely cost-effective way of upskilling employees. Our transparent and affordable pricing means you can significantly enhance the knowledge of your employees for as little as £1 per employee per year (plus an annual base charge of £350).
All of our courses are SCORM compliant and can be installed on your existing Learning Management System. Alternatively, Meritec can host them on our secure platform. All our online courses are comprehensive but concise, meaning learners aren’t overwhelmed with information. And employees can complete courses at any time, at any pace and on any device. Managers can track completion rates and feedback via a management dashboard and follow up employees who have not completed courses.
If you’d like to know more about our Fraud Awareness courses, please book a demo to see for yourself why so many local authorities and housing associations are already working with Meritec.
More from Meritec
As well as our popular and highly-acclaimed Fraud Awareness courses, we also offer digital learning solutions on a range of other topics, including:
- Risk Management
- Mental Wellbeing
- Equality & Diversity
Working closely with businesses and public sector organisations, we have created multiple versions of our courses to make them specific to councils, schools and academies, housing associations and the private sector. This ensures that the content is relevant and engaging for your employees.
If you would like to learn more about any of our digital learning solutions, or would like a demonstration of our eLearning platform, please get in touch. See for yourself why all of our customers trust Meritec with their digital solutions.