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Black Friday Is Approaching – Where Has Your Purchasing Card Been?

Be sure to monitor your organization’s corporate purchasing card transactions for potential fraud during the holidays. Read on for potential red flags to watch for.
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As the holiday season approaches, major shopping events such as Black Friday are just around the corner. It’s the perfect time for a reminder to monitor your organization’s corporate purchasing card transactions. While we’d all like to believe that all of our people are inherently responsible and trustworthy, it’s unfortunately not a realistic assumption as internal fraud cases are constantly hitting the headlines—purchasing card cases being one of them. Through our years of experience on the Forensics and Analytics Teams atForvis Mazars, we’ve seen many cases of fraudulent activity with individuals using their corporate cards for inappropriate personal purchases. Stress, which only increases during the holidays, can be a catalyst for fraudulent activity.

Over the years, we’ve found that fraudulent purchasing card transactions tend to include multiple “red flags” that can be identified through data analytics. Below are some key items to be aware of heading into this holiday shopping season that may indicate fraudulent transactions.

  • The holiday season is a prime time for employees to use personal time off (PTO) benefits. Be mindful of purchases made on a day an employee is on PTO, especially around key shopping periods such as Black Friday.
  • Certain retail establishments can present a challenge. Companies like Walmart, Apple, Amazon, etc., are regularly used for legitimate business purchases but also can be used for personal purchases. It’s important to evaluate each purchase and require receipts to confirm the legitimacy of the purchase.
  • Larger electronic purchases, such as an iPad, television, or cellphone, should always be a red flag (unless purchased by IT personnel). Be sure to be on the lookout for these larger items as they may indicate a personal purchase.

How Purchasing Card Risk Analytics Can Help

Our Purchasing Card Risk Analytics uses sophisticated pattern-recognition models and proprietary techniques to examine your organization’s purchasing card data. Harnessing the power of data analytics can help you pinpoint possible violations of company purchasing card policies and identify patterns or trends that may be hard to find on paper.

Our tool analyzes your purchasing card data to help identify the “red flags,” some of which are noted above. Transactions or cardholders with lots of red flags are higher risk and can be easily identified within the tool. The results are then evaluated by a Certified Fraud Examiner at Forvis Mazars, who applies their fraud investigation experience. We then provide your organization with a detailed overview of our findings and training on how your organization can use the tool to help analyze results.

For questions about our Purchasing Card Risk Analytics, or our overall Payment Risk Analytics product line, please reach out to an Analytics professional at Forvis Mazars or submit the Contact Us form below.

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