Several practical ways available to prevent fraud
CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – Nov. 22, 2012 – A recent survey of 1,000 Canadian businesses reveals that 62 per cent of them have at some point been the victims of fraud. In a majority of cases, company employees were the perpetrators; one third of these people were in management positions.
According to Charlottetown banker Martin Marcoux from the Royal Bank of Canada, fraud annually costs Canadian businesses, organizations and municipalities between $1-$2 billion. The number of fraud cases is also increasing dramatically by 40 per cent each year.
“Ultimately, everyone is affected by these crimes” since victimized businesses and insurance companies that provide fraud coverage have to recover their losses by increasing their prices, he said during interesting lunch-and-learns held in Charlottetown Nov. 20 and in Wellington Nov. 21.
At the invitation of the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI and the Wellington Rural Action Centre, Marcoux delivered these information sessions on fraud prevention. Fifteen people, representing businesses and community organizations, benefitted from his suggestions and advice.
“Reconcile your accounts very rigorously every day,” he insisted. “This way, you will notice immediately if there are any irregularities and you’ll be able to take necessary measures to rectify the situation.”
He mentioned that Canadian law dictates that banks must reimburse their clients for all fraudulent purchases made with their credit cards or bank accounts, but only if they are reported within the number of days prescribed by law. So, if people don’t regularly check their accounts, it is quite possible that if they are victims of fraud, they’ll end up having to absorb their losses.”
To avoid losses related to fraudulent cheque transactions, “keep your cheques in a secure place and don’t use any cheques that don’t have the highest security standards,” recommends Marcoux. “A signed cheque becomes vulnerable. Protect it as if it was cash. It’s the same thing with cheques that have already been deposited.”
He suggests the implementation of a cheque-making policy, including authorization of signatures. Policies should also be in place in regards to the acceptance of cheques. Policies for on-line payments are also indispensable in these modern times.
The banker suggested that various tasks and responsibilities in regards to accounting, preparation of cheques and verification of books and accounts be divided among at least two people.
He also suggests that businesses and organizations get insurance to cover fraud-related losses, both internal and external.
During the luncheons, Marcoux mentioned several specific fraud cases both here on PEI and elsewhere in Canada. The participants, who asked lots of questions, also shared their personal and professional experiences about being victims of fraudulent actions.
CUTLINE 1: Martin Marcoux, seated, manager of commercial accounts with the Royal Bank of Canada in Charlottetown, explains ways of preventing fraud with three participants of a lunch-and-learn in Wellington Nov. 21. They are, from left, Dick Arsenault from Atlantic BioHeat, Henri Gallant from HMS Office Supplies and Cedric Gallant from Evangeline Recreation Centre.
CUTLINE 2: Chatting about precautionary measures following the lunch-and-learn on fraud prevention held in Charlottetown Nov. 20, are, from left, Geoff Allen from ACOA, guest speaker Martin Marcoux, a banker with the Royal Bank of Canada in Charlottetown, Émile Gallant from the Carrefour de l’Isle-Saint-Jean and Angie Cormier from the LIENS project.
For more information:
Raymond J. Arsenault
Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI