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Spotting the character traits


Michael Dempsey

The Times

13 November 2013


Ed Savage, security expert at PA Consulting Group, is quoted in The Times on the most effective ways to undermine potential fraudsters. Ed argues that very basic measures are essential to head off fraudsters before they strike.

Ed recommends one surprising, but very effective, tactic - to install mirrors in offices. Ed points out that it undermines the intent of fraudsters as people who can look up and see themselves at work are less likely to contemplate defrauding their employer. The use of a mirror is one application of nudge theory, which PA uses to help change behaviours. If at a critical decision-making point, someone can see themselves, they are more likely to do the right thing.

Ed goes on to explain that these insights allow PA's security consultants to use technology effectively: “For those who are predisposed to fraud, there's generally a trigger event that encourages them to act”.

Ed also urges business to take pre-employment checks very seriously: “Identity is key … you must check whether someone is pretending to be somebody else.”

He also warns employers to take continuous monitoring for fraud seriously: “You can't watch everybody all the time, but there are priorities you can put in place that mean you're checking the right people.”

Lastly, Ed argues that whistleblowing should be seen as a virtue: “If you want to have a security culture, you must encourage whistleblowing.”  

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