Red Flags for Fraud
in Government

Warning: The presence of one or even many red flags is not in and of itself
a conclusive indication fraud exists, but rather is meant to heighten awareness.


General Red Flags

  • Employee lifestyle changes: expensive cars, jewelry, homes, boats
  • Refusal to take vacation or sick leave
  • Poorly defined duties without adequate monitoring

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Purchasing, Inventory

  • Abnormal number of expenses, supplies or reimbursements
  • Purchases that bypass normal procedures
  • Handwritten or typed invoices vs. computer-generated invoices

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Accounts Receivable

  • Excessive number of voided receipts, customer discounts and returns
  • Customers complaining they are receiving non-payment notices
  • Unauthorized bank accounts

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Corporate Credit Cards

  • Minimal or no supporting documentation for charges (for example, summary charge slips vs. detailed receipts)
  • No or minimal policies regarding access and use of credit cards


Portable Assets

  • Poor physical safeguards of property
  • Unauthorized transfer or disposal of assets
  • Missing records such as canceled checks or vendor invoices
  • Inadequate record-keeping

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  • Overtime charged during a slack period
  • Employees with duplicate Social Security numbers, names or addresses
  • Overtime charged for those who normally would not have overtime wages

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Behavior Changes

  • Borrowing money from co-workers
  • Easily annoyed at reasonable questions
  • Bragging about significant new purchases
  • Creditors or collectors appearing at the workplace

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More information

    The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is the world’s largest anti-fraud organization and the premiere provider of anti-fraud training and education.
    For more information and resources to combat fraud, visit