It is important to be aware of the work habits of employees, in order to detect characteristics that might indicate a fraud is occurring. Those who commit fraud often exhibit some signs, so being observant may help tip off management.
One common theme among employees committing fraud is a persistent negative or contrary attitude. This includes frequent complaints about the job or other employees, a history of poor work performance, shirking job responsibilities, a poor attitude in general, or a tendency to not follow the rules. Any of these behaviors could point to an employee who can more easily justify fraud in her or his mind. An unhappy employee might be all too happy to stick it to the company.
Also be on the lookout for employees who are desperately trying to meet certain performance goals or targets. Goals and benchmarks are a necessary part of the workplace, but a laser focus on meeting those performance objectives might lead to fraud… Especially by an employee who has a history of not being able to meet such objectives. There can be many reasons why an employee may need or want to meet certain performance goals, but beware of the potential for fraud in process. Employees who are trying to retain their jobs or get performance bonuses might be more likely to commit fraud.
Look for employees who are overly protective of data and documents under their control. Some people are naturally reluctant to share information with co-workers or managers. They might keep tight control of certain documents and never let them out of their sight. In general terms, this might occasionally be normal. But an employee that takes this to an extreme should be watched. Is there something to hide?
What about the employee who is possessive over her or his job duties? She or he might be unwilling to swap tasks with another employee, even temporarily. An employee engaging in theft may also be unwilling to train anyone else to do their job duties. Ask yourself why the employee doesn’t want anyone else involved in her or his tasks.