With the COVID-19 epidemic, companies have adopted remote work as a preventive measure. However, not all are prepared for this model, which also requires security measures and care in order to avoid fraud. Some basic recommendations can be followed to minimize fraud and avoid costly mistakes.

Knowing the basic structure of the company is a first step, as it may have an internal control that is very well designed, but poorly executed. Which can be a bad scenario, as there is a false sense of security when in fact, frauds can exist. Proper analysis of the processes at this time is feasible, as well as following safe guidelines to quickly detect fraud and minimize risks.

A fraud triangle has three factors: rationalization, pressure, and opportunity. The first two are hard to spot, but the opportunity can be controlled.

Segregating responsibilities is also recommended to reduce fraud. The key to a solid internal control system is the proper segregation of duties, in addition to transaction review and management training. As more employees work remotely, management must maintain a segregated list of tasks and check for inappropriate overlaps to prevent fraud at their management level.

The next recommendation is to automate whenever possible. An automated payment system, for example, basically already works with segregated tasks. A contributor enters the bills to be paid and another person approves the payment to be released, thus increasing fraud detection capability.

Attention to the use of corporate credit cards in the purchase process is also highlighted to minimize fraud. Many smaller expenses go unnoticed when statements are not analyzed and are the gateway to attempts at greater embezzlement. The ideal is to analyze all credit card expenses and always review the list of people who have and who really need to use in the company. A good option is credit cards that limit their use to types of expenses, reducing the chance of purchases that are not part of the company's routine.

We also added a simple recommendation, but one that can affect the security of remote work. These are basic care for the equipment used by employees. It is very likely that in some cases professionals migrate to the home office using their personal equipment, such as a notebook or family computer. These are worrying cases, as are new employees who have not yet received all the guidance on how to protect equipment outside the company's safety net. In these cases, the ideal is for companies to provide the tool or make sure that they use equipment capable of accessing corporate information. If the equipment is personal, it needs to have updated software, as well as a browser and antivirus. For connections, routers with encryption or VPN are recommended if the work is carried out in external locations such as coffee shops or hotels.

Companies that did not have remote work as a routine, in this time of pandemic are the most susceptible to security incidents and fraud detection, as they need to quickly provide a secure communication structure for all parties involved in the work. Thus, it is imperative that these basic recommendations are part of the actions implemented for the development of safe remote work policies.

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