Charity Fraud Awareness Week – Let Us Show You How
All this week we are supporting Charity Fraud Awareness Week by sharing great advice and resources provided by organisations such as the Fraud Advisory Panel and the Charity Commission. We are also running our ‘Let us show you how’ campaign each day this week.
What does this mean?
Each day there will be great content and resources with some great advice – we are going to ‘show you how’ to convert that in to practical action that does not require any prior knowledge of managing fraud risks. We will ‘show you how’ you can integrate effective fraud risk management into your other risk management processes, compliance programs and operational procedures.
Each day we will provide a 5 minute digest to prompt discussion and challenge organisations to identify an action they are going to take to move things forward. By the end of the week you will therefore have 5 practical things you have pledged to do. If you choose to share those with us we can also send you a reminder each quarter to check how you are getting on.
Day 5 – Moving Money Safely and Bank Fraud
There is some more great guidance provided by the Charity Commission and Fraud Advisory Panel including checklists and e-learning. As with our previous posts we are not going to simply repeat those, but instead add our own perspective, provide practical resources and seek inspiration from other sectors.
Our Top Tips
As the Fraud Advisory Panel factsheet points out there are legal regulations that must be considered as well as the risks associated with different types of money transfers. These regulations and restrictions will vary on the countries that the money is being transferred to/from. Make sure that you risk assessment therefore also considers country risk and the risks of non-compliance with those local rules and regulations. Other points to consider:
- The financial limits on transactions applies to the total value of any linked transactions. Transactions and transfers cannot therefore be split simply to bring them within the limits.
- You can check if a payment services provider is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) by using its free online register check. Note however that if a company is ‘registered’ with the FCA, they do not need to safeguard your money if they go bust. However, if they are ‘authorised’ by the FCA, your money must be kept separate from company funds.
- Provide the recipient with full details of the amount, date and time of the expected transfer and ask them to independently and immediately confirm receipt. Follow up straight away if you do not receive such confirmation.
- The website FXcompared was born out of a site ‘sendingmoneyhome’ which was set up by the Department for International Development. This site can help search for the best exchange rate and lowest fees for your transaction as well other useful information.
- Any emails, phone calls and emails relating to transactions (including normal invoice payments) should be checked and verified to make sure they are coming from the genuine person by verifying using a known trusted independent phone number. Fraudsters are very good at mimicking genuine messages (even hijacking genuine text threads). Particular care should be taken on any messages that change agreed payment arrangements including account numbers. Please also refer to our Day 1 tip referencing the Financial Fraud Action (UK) Ltd (FFA) and its ‘Take 5’ campaign .
The Fraud Advisory Panel e-learning video today makes reference to the importance of ‘trust’ to a fraudster. Fraudsters will always try to gain your trust, this was further evidenced by the example in yesterday’s e-learning ‘combatting internal fraud’ by Amnesty International where the fraud was by a ‘trusted’ employee.
Trust is not a control
A recent case involving a small charity highlights the need for even the smallest organisations to assess how they might be vulnerable for fraud and to put in place simple preventative or detective controls. The effects of a single fraud can have a devastating and disproportionate impact for smaller organisations. In the case of The First Friends Nursery the amount fraudulently taken was in the region of £50,000. This amount was enough to cause serious financial difficulties for the charity which threatened its existence with obvious knock on impacts for staff, parents and the children.
The trusted worker was able to extract money from the charity for her own use in a number of ways: stealing cash; forging signatures on cheques, and inflating her wages.
There were a number of simple controls that should have been in place which would have prevented this fraud, or detected it at a much earlier point. Those controls include:
- segregation of duties;
- bank account reconciliations;
- clear audit trails;
- supervision and checking of outputs;
- clear reporting lines and
- avoiding reliance on one key individual.
Relevant guidance and tools in our resource centre include:
How do I get more ‘Let Us Show You How’ information?
There a 3 easy ways:
- We will be posting updates on our website during fraud awareness week so simply visit our news feed each day, or
- Follow us on the usual social media platforms using the buttons at the top of the page, or
- Subscribe to our special mailing list using the contact form below and we will deliver the content direct to your mailbox each day.
Each day we also said we would challenge organisations to identify an action they are going to take to move things forward. By the end of the week you will therefore have 5 practical things you have pledged to do. If you choose to share those with us we can also send you a reminder each quarter to check how you are getting on. So what will you choose – one of the actions identified by the Charity Commission or perhaps check your payment services provider against the FCA register, or something else….? The choice is yours….!
We will be liking and retweeting other posts so please join us in keeping #charityfraudout.
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