A recent report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, “Report to the Nations: 2018 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse,” offers insights into who most often reports fraud, how they do it and whether they are effective.
The report finds that tips (whistleblowing) accounts for 40 percent of the initial detection of fraud, followed by internal audits and management review. Worldwide, occupational fraud occurs in 125 countries and costs $7 billion in total losses.
The report finds that whistleblowers prefer to remain anonymous to avoid retaliation and will often identify themselves as simply an employee or customer. The report says that 53 percent of whistleblowers say they are employees, 21 percent customers, 14 percent anonymous, 8 percent vendors with the rest being shareholders, competitors or “others”.
The most effect way for whistleblowers to report their concerns is by a telephone tip line. The reporting mechanisms cited in the report include:
- Telephone hotline – 42 percent
- Email – 26 percent
- Online form – 23 percent
- Letter – 16 percent
- Other – 9 percent
- Fax – 1 percent
OSHA, SEC protection
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers whistleblower protection. Twenty-two federal laws across a wide swath of industries says an employer cannot retaliate against a whistleblower because the whistleblower report injuries, safety concerns or other activities.
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower also provides protection for those who report fraud.
If you are leery of going to segments of the federal government to report your concerns, a qualified, experienced attorney can also provide help if you see a workplace problem that needs to be addressed.