Payroll is a prime target for fraud on many levels since it is often an employer’s biggest expense. For that reason, payroll fraud is quite common– affecting about 30% of businesses annually, according to the College Investor. If payroll fraud is left unaddressed, it can grow from a minor inconvenience to more significant payroll fraud consequences that can result in financial drain.
A prime example of this happened in 2021 when a small business of about 20 employees fell victim to a spoofed website scam that was mirroring a banking site the company used to issue payroll direct deposits. The business manager logged in to the fraudulent site, effectively handing over the username and password to the online business bank account. The result? A slew of payments made from the account resulting in overdrawn funds – 68 transactions in total and $249,000 lost.
In 2020, the Boston police department uncovered overtime fraud perpetrated years before by nine police officers. The officers were accused of leaving their overtime shifts two or more hours early but continuing to submit fraudulent overtime slips claiming to have worked the entirety of each shift. The falsified timesheets resulted in over $200,000 in pay for fictitious overtime within the department.
These high-profile cases are just two types of payroll fraud that can affect an employer. Understanding the nuances between each type will help you stay vigilant and stop crimes before they cost your company thousands of dollars.