So what do we mean when we say the ‘F’ word? Are we talking about watching Gordon Ramsay shout at helpless cooks for an hour or two on the TV? Nope, we’re talking about something much more exciting (and more important!) F.R.A.U.D.
Fraud, and becoming a victim of fraud, is often not talked about within the sector. Many people believe (naively) that a ‘hear no evil; see no evil’ approach to fraud means that it does not occur. In reality, this is unlikely as charities benevolent nature does not make them immune to fraud. Recent figures have estimated that the cost of fraud to the sector is just under £2 billion. That’s a lot of money that could go on good causes that the sector is passionate about.
Chairty Fraud Awareness week has been supported by the Charity Commission to really place the emphasis on fraud and to highlight the growing need of charities to take the threat of fraud serious. Most frauds (around 70%) come from cyber enabled fraud. However, charities due to their unique nature are often more susceptible to old fashioned physical fraud. Whether this means money living the fundraising box at a bake sale, or charities falling victim to the CEO Friday Afternoon email scam
The ‘F’ word needs to be in more conversations across the whole of the organisation. This means talking to managers, trustees, staff, volunteers, ANYONE that interacts with your charity in a way where fraud will be present. Remember, that not talking about fraud does not mean that it is not happening. Charities (and their reputation for good) are not immune from fraud.
So what does Fraud Awareness Week do?
Charity Fraud Awareness week was created to promote fraud awareness and encourage everyone working with charities to start a conversation about fraud. This week has seen the launching of a new website: www.charitiesagainstfraud.org.uk. This website has developed out of the Charity Commission’s Charity Sector Counter Fraud Group (CSCFG) or which CFG is a member. This website is dedicated to helping charities to fight against fraud and to become a point of reference for charities who want to find out more information about tackling fraud.
There have been some great tips and tricks on how charities can help to combat fraud. The hashtag #charityfraud is a great starting point to see what people have been discussing. The second annual fraud conference, taking place today (28th October), will be chance for delegates to hear from experts, colleagues and the Charity Commission. CFG will be supporting this conference
We really encourage everyone who works for or with a charity to start some serious conversations about how charities can prevent and detect fraud. It is never too late to start implementing a plan for tackling fraud. By joining together we can make a difference in stopping fraud against charities.
PS. Make sure you download a free copy of our publication “Countering Fraud” which was authored by counter-fraud experts at PKF Littlejohn.