Charities warned to watch out for CEO fraud

Charities are being urged to watch out for CEO fraud.

In an announcement released by the Charity Commission today, trustees, employees and volunteers are being called to take steps to identify and protect against CEO fraud.

Setting out to improve awareness of the fraud, the announcement details what tends to be involved; typically, a criminal will pose as a senior figure within the organisation, requesting that funds are transferred.

Highlighting that Action Fraud have reportedly observed a recent increase in this type of crime, the Commission outline a number of factors which individuals should be on the lookout for as potential signposts for CEO fraud.

These include:

  • Calls from a supposed figure of authority. Whilst this may be from someone who claims to be a part of the organisation, they may also say they are a lawyer or regulator based elsewhere.
  • Emails which request the transfer of funds, supposedly sent from a senior figure. This may often occur when the real individual is away so that they cannot be contacted to check legitimacy.

The Commission also included suggested measures which could protect against and prevent fraud, including:

  • Regular reviews of internal procedures to ensure that a request is legitimate.
  • Routine checks of email addresses and contact details. If in doubt, do not use the details provided in the correspondence itself.
  • If suspicious of an email, never open attachments or click on links.
  • Question the nature of the request; treat those that are in a rush as suspicious, even if they seem legitimate.

Where reporting fraud is concerned, the Commission urge charities to contact Action Fraud and to report it to the Charity Commission.

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