Signs of financial pressure


Individuals under financial pressure are more likely to commit fraud

Research has shown that most frauds are the result of individuals who fit the fraud triangle. They have the opportunity to commit the fraud, are under financial pressure that motivates them to commit the fraud, and are able to rationalize their behavior.

Opportunity can be reduced through proper protocols and procedures. If someone can’t create a ghost employee they won’t. Rationalization of behavior is entirely internal so there’s nothing you can do about it. Besides, someone who is rationalizing has already engaged in the behavior. But financial pressure is something you may be able to identify ahead of a fraud and take measures to prevent.

  • Someone who starts buying more material items for themselves may be responding to financial pressure by splurging rather than tightening their belt. They’ve decided to go out with a bang or use their resources before they lose them.
  • Suddenly carrying large amounts of cash could be an indication that an employee has had their credit cards cancelled.
  • An employee who is receiving lots of personal calls at work, which appear to be challenging or confrontational, may be getting collection calls. It’s common for collection agencies or aggressive creditors to pursue debtors at their place of business in order to apply pressure.
  • Irritable behavior or moodiness in someone who was previously calm and even-tempered could be a sign of pressure at home.
  • Someone who suddenly starts arriving early and staying late could be viewing work as a refuge from a turbulent home life.
  • If you see an employee drink more than would normally be socially acceptable, mention that they need a drink, or get visible nervous if alcohol isn’t present at a social event, they may have a drinking problem
  • An employee who is asking to borrow money from coworkers, requests salary advances, or talks a great deal about gambling, may have a problem.
  • Someone who discusses their own or their family’s medical problems could be facing extreme financial pressure.

More than just signs of increased fraud risk, these behaviors are opportunities to reach out to employees to offer whatever support or help you can.