The current socio-economic context is conducive to various types of fraud, from small scale and damage, to crimes with major financial, operational, human or reputational repercussions.
We are undoubtedly going through a fraud pandemic, and this fact is also demonstrated by figures. According to Price Waterhouse Cooper’s 2020 Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey, a study conducted on a sample of more than 5,000 companies in 99 countries and territories and of which 72% have a turnover of over 10 million dollars, the footprint of fraud is a major one:
- 47% of companies said they had been affected by fraud, whether internal, external or mixed, in the last 24 months. This is, according to the study, the second highest level of fraud in the last 20 years!
- each company has registered, on average, 6 incidents of fraud in the last 24 months.
- the value of the losses caused by fraud, in the last 2 years, exceeded $ 42 billion for these companies.
Although, on a theoretical level, we are all aware that prevention is cheaper and more effective than treatment itself, in practice, things are different. According to the same report, 2 out of 3 companies say they have implemented procedures to reduce the risk of fraud, and 6 out of 10 say they are constantly training and monitoring to prevent fraud. But only 50% of companies constantly dedicate resources to identifying and managing risks or turn to external specialists. Moreover, 58% of CEOs admit that they are not very sure how prepared they are to react to fraud.
When prevention fails, intervention is needed! In the fraud survival kit we offer you today, there are 3 tools that any entrepreneur, CEO or manager should use when his company is facing the fraudulent phenomenon.
- The Lawyer
The presence of the facing fraud company’s legal defender is of major importance.
At SPIA, we not only understand this and work closely with the client’s attorneys to ensure that the objectives of the anti-fraud investigation are perfectly aligned with the other ongoing legal proceedings, but we also partnership with some of the most representative law firms in our country and we offer our clients access to the full range of legal services to protect themselves from the legal point of view.
Moreover, out of the need to integrate in a multi-disciplinary format, branched into areas of investigative, legal and financial experience, we developed, together with our partners from the act Botezatu Estrade Partners law firm, InvestigACT – a personalized investigation service coordinated by specialized lawyers, in order to identify the risks of fraud and/or damages.
Among the advantages brought by the collaboration between the two companies, SPIA România and act Botezatu Estrade Partners, it is noted that the risk of the obtained evidence being contested and excluded is minimized, given that investigators are constantly in contact with lawyers specializing in criminal law, who advise them on-spot and analyse the evidence and materials collected by the investigators, in real time.
Obtaining solid evidence for liability, defence in potential litigation or damages recovery is supplemented by advice on the subsequent litigation strategy and recommendations on ways to reduce and remedy fraud.
All investigations and evidence obtained are under the protection of professional secrecy specific to the lawyer-client privilege.
- The Private Investigator
The private investigation market in Romania is relatively young, with a value of approximately 10 million euros in 2019.
Of the 650 licensed agencies, only 20% offer B2B services, corporate investigations.
Choosing the private investigation agency to find out the truth and protect your company’s interests is a difficult one. But what are the selection criteria for the investigation agency in charge of finding out the truth?
In addition to the issues mentioned in the above article, another important criteria in the selection of the private investigator is his portfolio of services, which should not be limited to operational surveillance or classic and tasteless surveillance reports.
For example, the SPIA portfolio includes a wide range of:
- specific investigations, from economic-financial investigations to background check, merger & acquisition investigations, litigation or due diligence investigations.
- anti-fraud investigations in any industry, for corruption, combating and prevention of money laundering or even to identify and prove smuggling and counterfeiting.
- corporate investigations, which can be carried out preventively, in order to prevent a possible fraud or to document it or to gather evidence in a case for which there is a suspicion of fraud.
- due diligence investigations and risk management.
- The Communicator
We are not talking about any kind of communicator, but about the crisis communicator.
Crisis communication aims to protect a person, a company or even a community that is facing or is at risk of facing a conflict situation, as a result of which his reputation will be damaged.
A crisis can be financial, operational, personal, caused by technology or a natural disaster. The entity whose reputation needs to be protected may be the one that caused the crisis or may be involuntarily involved and collateral damaged.
In short, a crisis is an event, a disclosure, an accusation or a set of internal and external issues that threatens the integrity, reputation, or existence of an individual or organization.
These are the 4 major features of a crisis:
- it is a major event, an extraordinary situation, an event in the life of a company.
- questions the company’s capacity, responsibility and reputation.
- threatens the stakeholders’ expectations or interests.
- attracts the attention of the press.
But all of these characteristics can as well be attributed to fraud, which proves the ability of the fraudulent phenomenon to represent a crisis for companies. That is why, at the request of our clients, we have introduced crisis communication services in SPIA’s portfolio of services. Our specialists can join the existing communication & PR department, as consultants, or can act from A to Z, if the client facing the crisis does not already have collaborators.
Specifically, the crisis communicator:
- takes over the management of communication during the crisis and keeps it in the client’s possession.
- identifies and stops potential secondary communication channels through which information can flow outside the company.
- stops the panic among the stakeholders and instils in them the confidence that thesituation is under control, and that they are correctly, quickly and transparently informed.
- ensure that there are no hesitations, delays, confusion or falsities in the communicated messages.
- ensures the company’s reputation management.
In conclusion, when faced with fraud and its effects, a company uses 3 providers: the lawyer, the private investigator and the crisis communicator.
The actions of the 3 are aligned and converge towards the same goal: protecting the company’s and its stakeholders’ interests and reducing the financial, operational or reputational repercussions, resulting from the fraudulent action. To avoid the situation in which the time, cost and project management of the 3 suppliers triple, you can call on a company that has all of the 3 services in its portfolio.
If you need help, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org , tell us what is the challenge you face, and we will help you find out the truth and be protected from a legal, investigative and reputational point of view.