2014 ACFE Fraud Report: $3.7 Trillion in Global Fraud Last Year

Fraud is everywhere and unfortunately no business or entity is immune from it.  Having an understanding of the cost of fraud and the potential impact it may have on a business helps owners take the necessary measures to help prevent fraud.  The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners has just published their “2014 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse. In this publication they have undertaken extensive research into the costs and trends related to fraud.  Here are just some of the findings:

  • Survey participants estimated that the typical organization loses 5% of revenues each year to fraud. If applied to the 2013 estimated Gross World Product, this translates to a potential projected global fraud loss of nearly $3.7 trillion.
  • The median loss caused by the frauds in our study was $145,000. Additionally, 22% of the cases involved losses of at least $1 million.
  • The median duration — the amount of time from when the fraud commenced until it was detected — for the fraud cases reported to us was 18 months.
  • Occupational frauds can be classified into three primary categories: asset misappropriations, corruption and financial statement fraud. Of these, asset misappropriations are the most common, occurring in 85% of the cases in our study, as well as the least costly, causing a median loss of $130,000. In contrast, only 9% of cases involved financial statement fraud, but those cases had the greatest financial impact, with a median loss of $1 million. Corruption schemes fell in the middle in terms of both frequency (37% of cases) and median loss ($200,000).
  • Many cases involve more than one category of occupational fraud. Approximately 30% of the schemes in our study included two or more of the three primary forms of occupational fraud.
  • Tips are consistently and by far the most common detection method. Over 40% of all cases were detected by a tip — more than twice the rate of any other detection method. Employees accounted for nearly half of all tips that led to the discovery of fraud.
  • Organizations with hotlines were much more likely to catch fraud by a tip, which our data shows is the most effective way to detect fraud. These organizations also experienced frauds that were 41% less costly, and they detected frauds 50% more quickly.
  • The smallest organizations tend to suffer disproportionately large losses due to occupational fraud. Additionally, the specific fraud risks faced by small businesses differ from those faced by larger organizations, with certain categories of fraud being much more prominent at small entities than at their larger counterparts.
  • The banking and financial services, government and public administration, and manufacturing industries continue to have the greatest number of cases reported in our research, while the mining, real estate, and oil and gas industries had the largest reported median losses.
  • The presence of anti-fraud controls is associated with reduced fraud losses and shorter fraud duration. Fraud schemes that occurred at victim organizations that had implemented any of several common anti-fraud controls were significantly less costly and were detected much more quickly than frauds at organizations lacking these controls.

    Continue reading about all of the ACFE findings at  http://www.acfe.com/rttn-summary.aspx.

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