Firms urged to watch out for signs of fraud

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EMPLOYERS are being urged to watch out for signs of fraud in the workplace.

The call comes from the south coast office of accountancy and investment firm Smith & Williamson, which covers Portsmouth.

Andrew Edmonds, head of assurance and business services, says the recession has seen a rise in people committing the crime.

Mr Edmonds said: ‘The fraud trend in workplaces continues to rise against the difficult economic backdrop.

‘Trusted personnel may be falling on hard times in the biggest squeeze on the cost of living in 60 years, which may result in them looking for opportunities to commit fraud.

‘Small-to-medium sized firms, including in and around Portsmouth, are more vulnerable to fraud because of more trust placed with employees.’

Statistics gathered by The National Fraud Authority (NFA) show that fraud has climbed from £13bn to £73bn in the last six years. An NFA survey showed nearly 80 per cent of people agreed their business was at risk from fraud. Businesses are advised to carry out spot checks and carry out regular stock takes.