Help your employer: Report fraud

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Companies rely on tips from employees to detect fraud from within. Employees commit lots of fraud against their employers. It is estimated that employee fraud totals $652 billion each year in the U.S. That's huge!

One of the primary ways that owners and executives detect fraud is through tips from employees. Some make it easy for the employees to report suspicions of fraud with anonymous hotlines or tip boxes. Other companies may require you to go to a member of management and report fraud personally.

Either way, it's worth it. Many employees think that fraud doesn't hurt them. And they think it doesn't really hurt the company... justifying the "deep pockets" of the company, or the huge profits of the business, or some other lame excuse. The fact remains that fraud is wrong, no matter who the victim is. And fraud hurts all employees... who might be denied raises or other benefits that could be paid for with the stolen funds.

So do your part in the coming year. If you suspect something isn't right at work, tell someone. And if the person you suspect is an executive, go to the owner of the company or the board of directors. Believe me, they want to know what is going on behind closed doors.

Forensic accountant Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations through her company, Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners honored Tracy as the 2007 winner of the prestigious Hubbard Award and her first book, Essentials of Corporate Fraud, will be on bookshelves in March 2008.
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