IN A bid to fortify the defences of charities and not-for-profit organisations in Aberdeenshire, Ansvar, a leading specialist insurer for the charity, not-for-profit, and faith sectors, is spearheading efforts to raise awareness during Charity Fraud Awareness Week, set to take place between November 27th and December 1st. The initiative aims to empower organisations to proactively protect their assets, reputation, and beneficiaries from the rising threat of fraud.
Charity Fraud Awareness Week stands as a critical initiative to shed light on the pervasive issue of fraud within the charitable sector. From deceptive grant applications to cyber-attacks and impostors posing as suppliers, fraudulent activities pose a serious risk to the resources and reputations of charitable organisations.
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Sam Ward emphasises the pivotal role that charities and not-for-profit organisations play in society and stresses the need for them to shield themselves against the tactics of fraudsters. Preventing charity fraud, he notes, goes beyond protecting financial assets; it is about maintaining the essential trust required for ongoing support from the public and donors.
“Charity Fraud Awareness Week serves as a timely reminder to be vigilant and take proactive steps to preserve valuable resources. We are supporting the work it does to raise awareness and highlight good practice. By providing practical information, we can help charitable organisations protect their assets and continue to make a difference.”
Key Strategies to Combat Fraud:
Ansvar proposes several key strategies for charities and not-for-profit organisations to implement in order to protect themselves against fraud:
- Protect Assets: Safeguarding physical cash and securing online transactions are paramount. Organisations should be aware of the risks associated with financial transactions and implement robust internal controls to mitigate those risks.
- Screen Personnel: Ensure the right people are on board, from employees to suppliers. Implement comprehensive vetting procedures for staff and suppliers to identify potential risks.
- Train Staff: Educate staff about the tell-tale signs of fraud, such as common spelling errors in communication, unusual communication tones, or unexpected urgent requests from unknown sources.
- Regularly Assess Risks: Conduct risk assessments to identify vulnerable areas within an organisation. Knowing where potential risks lie allows charities to implement safeguards and allocate responsibilities appropriately. Multiple individuals should oversee high-risk areas, such as finances, to create a robust system of checks and balances.
- Have Adequate Insurance: Having the right insurance is crucial. Ensure a policy covers the specific risks an organisation faces and be aware of any exclusions.
Cyber-attacks are a growing concern for charitable organisations. The increasing sophistication of cyber threats makes it challenging to differentiate between legitimate and malicious communications. Charities must invest in cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive data and maintain the trust of their donors.
Sam Ward underscores the importance of these measures: “Fraud, including cyber-attacks, is a very real threat. Charity Fraud Awareness Week is a reminder for charities to fortify their defences against deceptive activities, and we are encouraging charitable and not-for-profit organisations to take proactive measures to protect themselves. By implementing practical steps, charities can continue their invaluable work and ensure that funds entrusted to them are used for their intended purposes.”
As Charity Fraud Awareness Week approaches, the call for vigilance and proactive measures becomes more urgent. Ansvar’s guidance serves as a beacon for charitable organisations in Aberdeenshire, encouraging them to implement practical strategies to protect their assets and maintain the trust bestowed upon them by the public and donors. In doing so, these organisations can continue their essential work, undeterred by the threats of fraud and cyber-attacks.