Easter weekend is traditionally a time to think about finances, with Maundy Thursday in particular famous for its centuries-old ceremony in which the British monarch gives alms to specially selected individuals.
But this year, a new CIFAS report highlights the prevalence of financial fraud throughout the UK, and hints at why making use of professional credit control and debt recovery services can help your company avoid losing money to fraudulent transactions.
Bringing Fraud to Account
Almost 30% of all incidents of fraud recorded by CIFAS, the UK's fraud prevention service, in 2011 related to bank accounts - that's an increase of 4% year-on-year amid a record-breaking number of incidents of all types.
It's not just personal accounts that were at greater risk than in previous years, either. CIFAS reports "precarious financial circumstances facing individuals and businesses equally".
So what type of business is at most risk of becoming a victim of fraud?
Identifying the Identity Thieves
Perhaps unsurprisingly, online transactions are a particular cause for concern. CIFAS claims that very nearly three quarters (74%) of identity theft and more than three fifths (62%) of 'account takeover' frauds originated online in 2011.
This has two clear implications for credit control - on the one hand, you need to be sure you are protected if one of your clients loses access to their bank account, or finds it empty of funds, while on the other hand you also need to be safe if you fall victim to a fraudulent transaction yourself.
With risks rising as the recession rumbles on, can your company afford not to take a fresh look at your credit control policy?
A Climate of Abuse
Effective credit control is not just about protecting your company's income and earnings - it is also an excellent means to demonstrate your company is ever vigilant for fraudulent transactions.
The CIFAS report notes that more than 41,000 cases of own-account fraud were seen in 2011, where individuals paid in altered cheques, made illegal electronic transfers or paid for goods and services with cheques and withdrawals they knew would not clear.
CIFAS communications manager Richard Hurley says:
"Organisations must do all that they can to help their customers keep their accounts safe, and to help prevent fraud by individuals who might risk falling into temptation in these economically uncertain times."
With 2011's fraud figures breaking all previous records, it's more important than ever to keep on top of your credit control.
This is not only for your own sake, but to remove some of the temptation from customers who might otherwise stray into deliberately making deceptive payments - and help them to give up their money troubles for Lent next time around.
Our Credit Control and Debt Recovery Services
We can help to make sure that your company does not fall prey to fraudsters - in a climate of increasing fraud levels, you need to know that your credit control service provider is experienced in handling clients who fail to pay - or who delay payment - whatever their excuse may be.
Our debt recovery experts have a wealth of experience and have faced every trick in the book - and we're ready to share that expertise with you to keep the money in your account where it belongs, and not in the hands of the fraudsters.
Image by flickr user JD Hancock licenced under CC BY 2.0.