Reporting a known or suspected loss to SAO? Be ready for a few new questions
Sep 9, 2022
When your government becomes aware of a known or suspected loss of public funds, state law requires that you immediately report it to the State Auditor's Office. The most effective way to report is through the “How to Report a Concern” page on SAO's website. If you've reported a loss in the past and are coming back to report something new, you may notice some new questions on the reporting form, including:
- What is the time period of the suspected loss? In other words, when do you suspect the loss started and ended?
- Describe the estimated dollar amount lost. In other words, how you did determine the amount, and what does it include?
- If you suspect employee involvement, what is the name and title of the person who may have been involved? What are their major job responsibilities, and what areas or functions do they have access to? Is that person still employed by your agency?
- Who at the agency is aware this concern is being reported?
- If you're reporting a cyber-related loss, what kind is it (e.g., ransomware)?
Why the new questions?
The information you provide in your report helps us more effectively triage the case and determine next steps, which could be anything from launching an investigation to closing the case without any further action.
When we don't have enough information, we'll often ask your audit team to contact you with additional questions. The audit team then will consult with our Special Investigations Team whose work is billed to you.
In an effort to triage more cases without involving the Special Investigations Team, we looked at past cases. We considered what information we would have needed in the initial loss report to triage without involving the audit team. Our analysis led to the new questions in the loss reporting form.
What if I can't answer all the questions when I submit a loss?
Don't worry! We understand that you might not have all the information yet, but you should still report losses as soon as you suspect them. Just fill out what you can. If you want to update a loss report, let us know at Fraud@sao.wa.gov — just don't send us sensitive or confidential information through email.
Where can I find more information?
For more information about reporting losses and cyber-related issues, check out our Audit Connection blog articles:
- Suspect a loss of public resources? What to expect when working with SAO
- Has your government experienced a cybersecurity issue? Here is when and how to report
To report a known or suspected loss, visit our reporting page.
For assistance, email us at Fraud@sao.wa.gov.