Business Crime Advice

Organised criminal groups operate across Scotland, making money through illegal activity and using innocent people to assist them. Financial crime is one of the fastest growing trends these groups are engaging in. 

In order to successfully defraud organisations there is a need for specialist professionals. People holding key positions within organisations are being targeted by criminal networks to assist them in their work/ventures, etc.

Find out about:

  • Legislation.
  • Advice for professionals.
  • Consequences.
  • Advice for businesses/employers.
  • How to report your suspicions.
  • New legislation for new powers to prosecute.
  • The Criminal Justice & Licensing (Scotland), creates offences such as directing, involvement in, and failing to report serious organised crime. 

Penalties such as a prison sentence of up to 14 years and new powers for prosecutor to apply for financial reporting orders makes it all the more important for businesses and employees to ensure that correct measures are in place to truly identify/know their clients or face prosecution.

Police Scotland has advice for both employers and employees on how to prevent being targeted by crime groups and what to do if you are:

Advice for professionals

  • Look out for customers only wanting to do business over the phone or internet.  All customer validation checks should be carried out, not just an identity check. Do a background check.
  • Scrutinise sources of deposits to confirm validity, with the use of receipts/bank statements.
  • Be wary of very similar multiple transactions.
  • If an intermediary is being used always confirm their reputation and legitimacy.
  • Look out for possible organised crime indicators – cash rich companies and payments from invisible services.
  • Keep up-to-date with current legislation re money laundering and the protocol to deal with it.
  • If you are in doubt over the credibility of a client, their business, provenance of funds or legitimacy of a transaction then submit a SAR and allow the Law Enforcement Agency to assess the information and make an informed decision.
  • If it is clear criminality has occurred – you must inform the Police. 


Failure to report suspicious activity will result in severe penalties:

  • Conviction of criminality in fraud, money laundering.
  • Assets frozen, loss of savings, property, cars etc believed to have been obtained illegally.
  • Ruined reputation and expulsion from professional body making finding employment in future difficult.
  • The Criminal Justice & Licensing (Scotland) Bill has penalties including prosecution and a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

Advice for businesses/employers

Businesses/employers can take some simple steps to assist with preventing fraud which is often committed with colluding staff:

  • Know your staff - check CVs and take up references.  The more sensitive the holder’s position the more detailed the search should be.
  • When staff move - remember to change computers, passwords and building access levels.
  • Have strong control over access to computers, documents and equipment to prevent unauthorised use.
  • Train staff in security systems, disciplinary policies and procedures and encourage line management to enforce this.
  • Encourage whistle blowing philosophy in organisation.
  • Carry out random spot checks.
  • Take a hard line on culprits.  Have a clear message that any colluding staff will be reported to any professional body and Police.
  • Limit use of USB drives and external storage items.
  • Consider ban on mobiles at workstations (have been used for photographing computer screens).
  • Divide duties between staff so irregularities will be spotted and introduce monitoring controls.
  • Encourage staff to examine every transaction carefully – look out inconsistencies and use expertise and professional judgement.
  • Develop clear procedures if suspicious activity is identified.
  • Empower managers to act quickly and take immediate action in respect of crimes in action.
  • How to report your suspicions.
  • Should you have concerns or suspicion that an employee or colleague is involved in or directing serious organised crime you should report it to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or to your local police office.

For more information, you can download the 'Working with Business to Prevent Robberies' leaflet below.  

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