How to checkmate fraud by event staff and security personnel
The quest for get rich quickly, greed and lack of internal structure and control could make staff get away easily with ticket racketeering and unprecedented fraud. How event management companies checkmate ticket fraud while giving attendees a flawless ticketing experience will be the focus of this article.
Event companies generate revenue through their services to event promoters. The company depend on the personnel to carry out day to day activities upon which the company integrity depends. Therefore, the last thing the company need is to have employees that will create leakage in the system and commit fraud. (Source: ResearchGate)
Small organisations are more prone to fraud acts because they do not have resources to deal with numerous scammers which might have flocked the social media with the hope to make quick money from the artist fans who have not gotten tickets to the event or may have to deal with internal problem due to lack of proper control scheme to monitor staff that may want to engage in it, than large organisation as this could pose more threat to such companies as their inability to absorb such damages could cause the company to close down.
There are several reasons why an individual or event staff will want to sabotage the company effort to provide seamless ticketing experience to the clients and encourage ticketing fraud through gap in internal structure of the company or collude with external accredited security personnel to perpetrate ticketing racketeering during the event and make extra money for themselves.
Some of these factors may be the followings:
- Poor salary structure may be a good justification for the event staff to steal.
- Lack of internal mechanism within the company to reward the staff for loyalty to the company.
- If staff is undergoing financial difficulties and there is no open channel to communicate with the management for bail out.
However, there are measures which could be deployed to checkmate fraud by event staff and security personnel and prevent such acts from happening (Source: Alfagate) Before we go further into the individual break down of these points, we have to look critically at the term fraud itself. According to the CIMA guide (Chattered Institute of Management Accountant), the term fraud commonly includes activities such as theft, corruption, conspiracy, embezzlement, money laundering, bribery and extortion. Fraud essentially involves using deception to dishonestly make a personal gain for oneself or create a loss for another. Although definitions vary, most are based around these general themes.
Clients responsibility is to choose the right ticketing company (events vendor/planner)
It is very important for event organiser to separate quantity from quality in order to avoid getting caught up in ticketing scams. When planning an event, select a ticketing company (such as Allevents.ng) that has fraud preventive measures for their ticket (fraud-proof), secure encryption and structure management procedures will be highly recommended.
Challenges posed by ticket racketeers and fraudulent event staff and their network call for great concern and the best way to mitigate/checkmate it to bare-rest minimal is to choose a ticketing company that has the latest ticket security features and can help to easily identify those fake tickets immediately Source: Eventbrite)
Before you engage the ticketing company, as an event organiser, you will need to ask the ticketing company how they intend to prevent ticket fraud at the event and ask if they have the following security features in their tickets:
Barcode with unique generated serial numbers: implementation of barcode with unique generated serial numbers on tickets helps a lot to identify fake tickets and create effective and smooth workflow for quick validation of the tickets. Each ticket will have a unique serial number allocated to it for easy display, which makes it easy to quickly identify some fake tickets out of the crowd. The fake tickets are identified as the barcode and serial number display does not match the tickets status on the system. Barcode with unique generated serial number on tickets also reduce the employee headache of manually checking tickets. However, this should not be the only security measure on tickets because scammers can still manage to create fake barcodes with random generated serial numbers. So, what other security measure should your tickets have?
Unique reference numbers: At Allevents.ng, our ticketing security interface has fraud-proof mechanism which makes counterfeit and ticket theft difficult. Each ticket generated by Allevents.ng has a unique reference number that match each generated barcode with unique serial numbers. The unique reference number must also match the buyer’s information such as name, email and phone numbers during accreditation and validation at the venue of the event. This process makes spotting out fake tickets very easy and should in-case the scammer is able to manipulate a fake barcode with a fake serial number, they will still need the have the unique serial number and the buyer’s information. And what if they are able to figure this out? Let’s look at other huddles they will need to go through.
Embedded invisible ink with pattern that respond to Ultraviolet (UV) on tickets: Allevents.ng security paper has invisible ink with pattern embedded in it which can only be seen when viewed under a blacklight, making it simple and easy to validate. This is an additional feature to make tickets almost impossible to replicate and involve large amount of money to implement.
Coloured centre thermal paper: Coloured centre thermal paper is a paper with inner colour, which is produced during the paper manufacturing process. The colour inner layer which is revealed when the ticket is torn. The ticket inner colours can be orange, red, blue or green which offers an easy means of verifying a tickets authenticity.
It is noteworthy to mention that Allevents.ng is the ONLY ticketing company in Nigeria that has this ticket features. Paper manufacturing is done in Sweden under a special request and certain volume, thereby making it almost impossible to get it within the Nigerian market.
Know your employees
What is the pedigree of people that work in your company? Do they have a track record that you can check up with good referral from past working place? These are part of a company’s first responsibility when hiring. The company should ensure that during the process of recruitment, they should see to the fact that a thorough background check is being done to ensure that they are employing honest and well deserving individuals. There is every likelihood that individuals that have a bad financial background will easily be tempted if put in the position of funds control.
Maintain good internal control structures and ground rules:
The best way to checkmate fraud by event staff and other security agencies is first to know the possibility that such risk occurs, define many ways it occurs and then define strategy to prevent the occurrence by setting up strict internal structures and ground rules for individual employee.
The internal control starts with the job description that clearly outlines the responsibility of the employee. For example, field deployment staff which is responsible for accreditation only at the field should not handle back end task which deal with generation of tickets security features. More so, compliance with the event job description workflow which limit individual responsibility and allow effective work distributions is a tool for separation of task. Any event staff found to have ignored the procedure should be put under radar and scrutiny.
Setting boundaries to employee on limit to physical access to company materials is another internal control measure that should be implemented for effective ticketing security check and balance. This could be in form of a computerised security system for door access which should only be accesses with an access card provided by the company or surveillance system within the perimeter where the sensitive ticketing materials are kept.
Event companies should make sure that they maintain a strict internal control that not only segregates duties but ensure accurate check and balance that ensures that there is little or no avenue available for a staff to commit fraud Control of all accounting books should be the sole responsibilities of an accounting expert and he should also be in charge of such books.
Audit and Organisation check and balance:
It may seem perfectly normal for employees to think there is nothing wrong in borrowing things from the office with the intention of returning it soon or making up for it the following month, without returning it because of lack of inventory check or account audit. Although such an employee may not intentionally be deceiving the company by not accounting for those items or money, there is definitely lack of transparency. This is where a good supervision is required for the implementation and enforcing the clear procedure for approval.
Synergy in workflow between the hired security outfit and the event company is a must for flawless ticketing experience. However, events staff or security staff that are dishonest will always find ways to violate all the security measures in place. Based on this, extra external observers that are independent from the ticketing firm and security firm, (which in this case should be an event vendor agent) should be deployed to counter check, monitor ticket racketeers, their source and inform the appropriate law enforcement agency.
It is the responsibility of each individual to keep their tickets safe and make sure that it is not stolen. Also, fans should not post their tickets on social media in order to avoid tickets from being duplicated by scammers. Tickets should not be bought from ticket racketeers but rather from accredited ticketing companies as they do not responsibility for faulty tickets.
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