Fraud has become more present than ever, affecting everyone, from governments and businesses to individuals. While the financial effects can be disastrous, the toll fraud can have on the individual’s mental health can be even more tremendous.
Therefore, companies must do everything in their power to protect employees from becoming victims of fraudulent activities and, more importantly, from fraud impacting their mental health.
Realities of fraud
Cyber attacks and fraudulent activities are increasing risk affecting millions of people each year. According to a study by Experian, one in six UK adults has fallen victim to fraud, and statistics are similar worldwide. That means that there is a high chance that you or someone you know has been affected by fraud.
Industries worldwide are implementing necessary tools to protect their business, employees, and customers from becoming a part of these statistics. For example, banks are doing more digital onboards, eCommerce businesses are utilising browser fingerprinting, and cryptocurrency exchanges are implementing biometric verification methods.
Fraud can have a disastrous impact on anyone included, from financial and reputational to long-lasting emotional and psychological consequences. This is especially true when fraudulent activity happens to a business.
While everyone tries to find a way to mitigate financial and reputational damages, they tend not to realise that employees might be struggling with their mental health as they consider themselves responsible. Yes, mitigating the danger is a priority, but not at the expense of your employees’ mental health.
Dealing with fraud is already difficult when it affects you personally. Still, it gets even more complicated when you feel responsible for the scam happening to your company.
You might be afraid of losing your job, worrying what your manager and colleagues will say, or even feeling embarrassed because you fell for a scam. CommBank research shows that the most common reactions to becoming a victim are anger (71%), devastation/sadness (50%), and embarrassment/shame (44%).
Many people are dealing with the cultural stigma of mental health, making it almost impossible to admit they need help. As their employer, it falls upon you to provide them with a safe and open environment that can reduce fraud risks and mitigate the effects it can have on their mental health.
How does fraud impact mental health?
Becoming a victim of fraudulent activities can be a distressing experience. Which? Research shows that 71% of victims involved in fraud have found that it negatively affected their stress levels. This makes it hard for them to ask for help. Without proper support, this initial emotional distress can transform into something more severe and challenging to recover.
Usually, fraudsters manipulate their victims into revealing sensitive information such as account information, login data, and similar confidential private or professional data. Fraudsters do so by gaining their trust, deceiving them, or pretending to be a legitimate party making it even more emotionally damaging for the victim. This causes victims to fall into the circle of self-blame, resulting in self-esteem issues, anxiety, and depression.
Victims can’t understand how they could have fallen into the fraudster’s trap and put their or their companies’ data in danger. The more they think about it, the more blame they put on their shoulders. They keep replaying the situation in their head, thinking about what they could’ve done differently, which steps they could’ve taken and how they should’ve reacted. This can put them in a tailspin which can be hard to get out of.
The mental well-being of employees needs to be a priority, as they are an essential element of the company necessary for its success. Promoting general awareness of mental health issues and offering support for any employee that needs it can be a game changer for business success.
However, dealing with the aftermath is a reactive solution. Instead, take a proactive approach to prevent fraud from affecting your business and mitigate its impact on your employees.
Preventing fraud from impacting your business
Unfortunately, fraud has become a reality, especially for online companies. Taking proper security steps is essential for protecting your company’s confidential data and employees’ mental health.
Raise cybersecurity awareness throughout the company
Regardless of their position, every employee in your company needs to know the dangers they could encounter and how to react to them. Organise regulator cybersecurity training and educate your employees about proper online behaviour, recognising online threats, fighting against them, and, most importantly, what to do if they become targeted.
They can take control of their cybersecurity if they know how to identify red flags and react to them.
Remember to include every team member, regardless of how low-risk you consider them to be. Every employee has access to confidential data that fraudsters could use for their malicious activities.
Introduce clear and precise policies
It would be best if you introduced clear and precise security policies to make it easier for your employees to know what is expected from them and how to protect themselves. Use them to instruct your employees about good password hygiene, specific online behaviour, GDPR, data protection, and other essential business elements.
Implement proper cybersecurity tools
As technology develops, so do different cybersecurity tools that can be used to protect your business, employees, and customers from fraud. Analyse the requirements of your business, determine which tools would be the right fit for your business, and implement them before fraudsters can cause any damage.
Stay updated with the latest cybersecurity trends and dangers
Cybercriminals are constantly trying to develop new scams to cause as much damage as possible while making the most profit. By staying updated with the recent threats and the latest cybersecurity methods created to deal with them, you will be able to remain proactive and prevent any malicious actions before they can happen.
Empower your employees
Educating your employees won’t make a big difference if they are not empowered to take action when necessary. Create an open environment, engage in active listening, and allow your employees to come to you with any issues or ideas they might have.
This can allow you to update your business operations with excellent and unique ideas and give your employees a safe space to share any problems and deal with mental health issues before they become unbearable.
Your employees are the heart of your company, and protecting them should be your priority. Ensuring you look after their online safety and inner state will provide them with a safe and open environment to grow and bring your business to the next level.