It is not uncommon to hear or read about incidents of fraud in the news or on the web.  It’s a crime that seems to hit every industry and every level, and no business is immune.  Often in the past, action has always been reactive—steps were taken to prosecute the guilty party, repair the damage, and make policy changes to prevent future incidents.  However this is all done after an attack has already been committed.  But a new study is trying to be proactive, by developing the profile of a fraudster.

The Big Four firms did an international study collecting data from almost 600 fraud cases throughout the world;  in Europe, North and South America, Asia and the Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa.  Fraud analysts examined the data and characteristics and were able to develop a profile to help aid companies in fraud prevention.

The typical fraudster profile is as follows: they usually hold a position within the company and that position is usually as an executive, finance, operations, sales, or marketing; has been employed by the company for 6 years or more; are between the ages of 36 and 45; personal money needs/problems are often the driving factor; and they often work with someone outside the company, posing as the quintessential “Trojan horse”.

With this information companies can begin to identify potential threats and recognize fraud as early as possible.  Nothing is perfect and while it may be impossible to identify a crime, or someone who would commit fraud, before it happens, companies can use the information to prevent it. 

Fraud is a constantly changing organism.  As technology changes and develops so do the methods of committing fraud.  Restrictions may be put in place to prevent fraud one day but a determined person can find ways around them.  Businesses must be constantly vigilant to create an environment of accountability and security that discourages fraud and dishonesty.