Companies & Industries

How to spot a Canadian fraudster

First of all, he probably works for you

(Photo: Getty Images)

(Photo: Getty Images)

When it comes to sniffing out fraudsters, companies often needn’t look any further than the employees under their own noses.

A recent report from research firm KPMG—which surveyed the profiles of 596 fraudsters who committed their crimes in 78 different countries between 2011 and 2013—found that a white collar scam artist is more likely to be an employee of the victim organization they’re defrauding. It also found that the most common type of fraud in Canada is the “misappropriation of assets,” which includes the criminal activities of embezzlement and procurement.

The firm says the risk of corruption in Canada is far lower than in other countries, but notes that “General Counsel in Canada, and worldwide, believes fraud disputes and fraud litigation to be on the rise.” Canadian regulators have made a notably stronger attempt to combat bribery and corruption (particularly bribes committed by Canadians in foreign countries) in the past two years, the report added.

So what attributes do typical Canadian fraudsters have in common?  KPMG found that the most likely candidates to commit fraud share these characteristics:

  • Are between 36 and 45 years old
  • Occupy a position of authority, such as an executive or managerial role
  • Commit fraud with “multiple transactions over a period of one to five years”
  • Have been employed by their organization for at least six years or more

In addition to common traits, the report also devised profiles for what it says are the three most common types of fraudsters. The “Opportunist,” for example, is usually a first-time offender and trusted employee in a position of power who surprises everyone when revelations of their criminal activity are uncovered. The Opportunist is also likely to be male and married with children, with a problem that can be solved if they can get their hands on enough money.

The “Predator,” meanwhile, purposefully searches for an organization to defraud. KPMG says this type of white collar criminal will conduct their illegal activity with little to no remorse, but is also a less common type of fraudster.

The last type, known as the “Colluder” will often work with other employees to defraud their employer. While KPMG says the Colluder is less common in Canada than in other countries, the firm did note than in “just under 50%” of the Canadian fraudster cases they studied, the perpetrators were working with other people.

The moral of the story? If money starts to vanish, stand up and look around.