PR can fight fraud

Here’s an idea that combines social media, public relations and doing good works.  Public relations units in companies can use social media read by their fellow employees to warn against frauds that are rife these days.

Fraud and particularly the kinds that are flourishing can not only steal money, they can reduce victims to insecure, fearful people. In turn, this is bound to have an effect on their productivity at work. What’s the sense of working hard only to lose your hard-won gains to some con-artist? Employers have both ethical and practical reasons to promote anti-fraud campaigns in the workplace.

An example that has become common is the theft of credit card information to defraud people. One person who caught this one in-the-bud tells this story.

“I recently used my credit card to pay for purchases in three well-known and relatively up-scale stores. Within a week of the first purchase and the latest one in this bunch, I received an email and a telephone call from my bank.  I ignored the email because this, in itself, looked like another trick by the fraudsters to get me to give them my financial information.  The telephone call worked: it was a robot call from the bank but quoted the final four numbers of my credit card.

“The robot provided telephone numbers, an email address and a post office box to contact but I never contact the number or address provided because it could have been a fraud itself.

“Rather than telephoning the numbers provided in the robot call (never call these back or click on a  email attachment), I went to my bank. The teller validated the telephone call and connected me with the bank’s credit card issuer which told me that three attempts had been made overnight to charge a total of $1,000 to my card. These attempts were being held in a queue because they didn’t fit my shopping profile. I told the bank I had not made these purchases and they were cancelled. No money had been credited to my card and, if it had, the bank would have refunded it.”

Not everyone is as quick to act as this potential victim. Some credit card holders would have ignored the warnings. Some would have gone months without checking their credit card statements. Eventually, the fraud could have been successful.

People have to be warned about fraud with all its various tricks exposed. The warnings have to come from trusted sources – like the company PR professionals. The warnings and the frauds have to be explained so people can tell when to act and when to ignore calls and emails. The best way to communicate these things is via social media used by employees and by internal company publications. Some of the best people to warn against fraud are your company’s PR people – in an ideal position to do good for their colleagues in the workplace.

-GR