Fraud trends are a common ethical problem. They affect every industry, but are often difficult to catch. Not only do businesses and individuals have to worry about individual fraudsters, but fraud coming from within businesses.
While there are numerous types of fraud, 2021 has several major fraud trends that are likely to be more prevalent. This is mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic and the way everyone’s lives have changed as a result.
The rise of e-commerce through 2020 has made it an even bigger target for fraud than usual. In fact, it’s growing at such a high rate that experts believe 95% of purchases will happen online by 2040. When something’s popular, it’s a bigger target. Fraud happens in a variety of ways, such as:
· Businesses selling fraudulent merchandise
· Employees giving out special discounts to friends and family
· Customers being hit with hidden fees for employees to collect
· Items never shipping
Sadly, many ethical employees may not realize they’re working for a fraudulent company. They’re hired as part of the scam to sell fraudulent merchandise or deal with customer complaints when purchased items never arrive. Of course, businesses that have employees trying to skim off the top or provide costly discounts can severely hurt the company’s bottom line.
With so many people in need right now, those who can give are eager to do so. As a result, 2021 is likely to see a rise in charity fraud. Volunteers and non-profit employees going through hard times themselves may send out or call people to donate to the charity. However, instead of giving the money to the charity, they keep part or all of it for themselves. They may even add fraudulent processing fees to payments made online.
This is in addition to all the fraudulent charities that are popping up solely to scam innocent people. Even businesses may be targeted.
People are eager to make money right now. With the coronavirus causing many people to lose their jobs, they’re looking for quick and easy ways to get back on their feet. This is leading to a rise in investment fraud or Ponzi schemes. Some businesses are based solely on this type of fraud. Any employees or individuals who believe they’ve become a part of a Ponzi scheme needs to report it immediately. Reporting it to the local attorney general is a great first step.
Healthcare fraud is only going to continue to rise in 2021. Healthcare workers and insurance companies are so overworked from 2020 that it’s easier for fraudulent claims, diagnoses and prescriptions to pass through undetected. As a result, healthcare costs rise even more.
Preventing healthcare fraud trends requires the diligence of everyone involved. However, employees are overworked in many instances and may not care or even perpetrate fraud as a way of getting what they feel they deserve.
Customer And Tech Support Fraud
With more people buying online or working from home, customer and tech support are staying busy. This also means that these employees are finding it easier to scam the callers. For instance, a tech support person may contact a recent caller to let them know they need to buy a special antivirus tool to keep them safe, but pocket the money instead.
Fraud trends are hard to stop. However, businesses implementing whistleblower hotlines can reduce it. Employees and customers can report suspected fraud to help stop it and make 2021 a little safer for everyone.