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Fraud Awareness Week casts spotlight on white collar crime

International Fraud Awareness Week is Nov. 7-13, 2010, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). The awareness campaign comes during a time when organizations around the world lose an estimated 5% of their annual revenues to fraud, according ACFE research.

During Fraud Awareness Week, official supporters will engage in various activities in support of the anti-fraud movement. These initiatives include hosting fraud awareness training for employees and/or the community, conducting employee surveys to assess levels of fraud awareness within their organization, posting articles on their website and in newsletters and teaming with local media to highlight the problem of fraud.

To aid in this effort to create awareness of this problem, the ACFE has provided downloadable resources including its Fraud Prevention Check-up, Fraud IQ Quiz and educational presentations focused on fraud prevention and detection. These downloads are available at

ACFE President James D. Ratley, CFE, said that the support of organizations around the world helps make Fraud Week an effective tool in raising anti-fraud awareness.

 “Regardless of the size of an organization or its business model, fraud is a serious concern — and, if undetected, it can have a measurable impact on the bottom line,” Ratley said. “Once again, we want to say ‘thank you’ to all of the Fraud Awareness Week supporters for helping to shine a spotlight on the urgent need for fraud prevention and detection,” Ratley said.

In its 2010 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud & Abuse, the ACFE found that:

•  Small businesses are especially vulnerable to occupational fraud. These organizations are typically lacking in anti-fraud controls compared to their larger counterparts, which makes them particularly vulnerable to fraud.

• Fraud schemes are extremely costly. The median loss caused by the occupational fraud cases in the ACFE study was $160,000. Nearly one-quarter of the frauds involved losses of at least $1 million.

• Schemes can continue for months or even years before they are detected. The frauds in the study lasted a median of 18 months before being caught.

• Occupational fraud is a global problem. Though some findings differ slightly from region to region, most of the trends in fraud schemes, perpetrator characteristics and anti-fraud controls are similar regardless of where the fraud occurred.

• Tips are key in detecting fraud. Occupational frauds are much more likely to be detected by tips than by any other means. This finding reinforces the need for promoting awareness to foster an informed workforce.

For more information about increasing awareness and reducing the risk of fraud during International Fraud Awareness Week, visit

The 2010 Report to the Nations is available for download online at the ACFE’s website: The Report is in PDF format.

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