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 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.
- 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.
- How Internal Control Weaknesses Contribute to Fraud (video runs 1:46)
- What’s the ‘why’? Understand the purpose of each control to prevent fraud (article)
- Cash Receipting Assessment Tool (Excel)
- Payroll Assessment Tool (PDF) »
- Vendor Payments Assessment Tool (PDF) »
- Cash Assessment Tool (PDF) »
- Billing and Receivables Assessment Tool (PDF) »
- Credit Card Receipts Assessment Tool (PDF) »
- Petty Cash Assessment Tool (PDF) »
- Expect the Unexpected: How to Protect Unanticipated Revenue from Fraud (PDF) »
- Segregation of Duties: An Essential Internal Control Guide (PDF) »
- Trust, but verify: A guide for elected officials & appointed boards to prevent fraud (PDF) »
- Internal Control Guidebook (PDF) »
- Cash receipting: Fraud Prevention and Internal Controls (SAO eLearning runs 1.5 hours)
- Accounts Payable Guide (PDF) »
- Best practices: Sending wire transfers (PDF) »
- Best practices: ACH electronic payments (PDF) »
- Additional resources
Want to learn more about fraud? These organizations provide extensive training and resources to help agencies fight fraud.