Preventing Fraud

Our goal at the State Auditor’s Office (SAO) is to help you prevent, detect and report fraud in your government.

What to do if you suspect fraud

Fraud Resources

Fraud is costly to Washington governments.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimates that organizations lose 5% of revenue to fraud each year. On average, state agencies and local governments incur losses of $56,000 and $125,000 per fraud occurrence, respectively. Fraud is costly, but you can take action to prevent and detect fraud in your government. Here are some resources to help you.

Understanding The Fraudster

To prevent or detect fraud, we must first understand the mindset of a fraudster. These short videos describe a fraudster, why they commit fraud and how they rationalize it.

Fraud schemes and risks

Fraudsters are creative in finding new ways to commit occupational fraud. Understanding these fraud schemes will help you to design control processes to prevent or detect them. These articles, videos and trainings walk through some common fraud schemes and ways to avoid falling victim to them.

Helpful articles

Setting a proper control environment

Did you know that your control environment is likely the largest factor affecting how much fraud happens at your government, and whether employees speak up when they see it? Find out more through these videos and training resources.



Establishing internal controls

Fraud relies on the three legs of the Fraud Triangle – pressure, rationalization and opportunity. You can reduce the opportunity leg of the triangle by setting the control processes at your government, and these resources will help show you how.

Additional resources

Want to learn more about fraud? These organizations provide extensive training and resources to help agencies fight fraud.

If you have any questions, please contact us at