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The implications of fraud committed against enterprises in the Netherlands

Marleen Schlömer
MSc. Business Administration
University of Twente
Master Thesis
Publication date: 1st of May 2018

Vulnerabilities, damages, consequences and prevention

The chance that fraudsters are caught is around 1%, whereas the overall damage of fraud in the Netherlands is estimated to be more than 10 billion euros. Therefore, this research aims to shed light on fraud targeted against companies. This paper discusses the differences amongst acquisition fraud, CEO fraud and ghost invoices with regards to fraud and company characteristics and to what extent these characteristics have an effect on financial damage and fraud successfulness. The goal is that the results can be used to establish preventive measures that will help in the fight against fraud. Fraud notifications on three types of fraud are gathered from the Fraudehelpdesk (FHD) and processed into a dataset with the use of a coding scheme. Of each type of fraud, one-hundred fraud notifications are gathered and processed. In order to draw proper conclusions, the data is supplemented by data from Statistics Netherlands on the economic landscape of companies in the Netherlands. The data is quantitatively analysed with the use of cross tabulations and regression analyses.

The results show that there are many differences between the three types of fraud. There are for example seasonality and size effects. Acquisition fraud is mostly attempted in winter and against self-employed and micro companies. Ghost invoices are mostly attempted in spring and against micro and small sized companies. CEO fraud is mostly attempted in summer and against small and medium sized companies. In addition, our results indicate that companies that are targets of CEO fraud have the highest risk with regards to financial damage, followed by acquisition fraud and ghost invoices. Results suggest that the more effort fraudsters put in a fraud attempt, the higher the amounts asked and received when successful. Whereas most attempts are directed towards the tertiary sector, the chance of success is higher in the primary and secondary sector making the sector rather vulnerable. With these insights, and knowing the modus operandi of fraudsters, companies can focus more on their vulnerabilities.


CEO fraud, acquisition fraud, ghost invoices, company characteristics, fraud characteristics, financial impact, fraud successfulness.


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