White-collar crime

In the company, this primarily includes theft, embezzlement, breach of trust, bribery, fraud and improper disclosure of data to external parties.
When it comes to data theft, company bosses usually think of hackers and spies from outside, but employees from within the company are often much more dangerous. Modern technology enables new methods of data and know-how theft, e.g. via email, USB sticks, PDAs, camera phones, DVDs and CDs. Know-how losses due to the passing on of internal company data are one of the greatest risks for companies.
These economic crimes often involve a mixture of industrial espionage, embezzlement and theft of data. Firewalls and anti-virus software are used to protect against attacks from outside, but these measures are of little help against attacks from within.
According to a study by an auditing company, the risk of white-collar crime is greatly underestimated, especially in small and medium-sized companies. Risk awareness is often lacking, particularly in owner-managed companies. According to this study, around half of all German companies have been victims of white-collar crime. The number of unreported cases is estimated at 80%, as many companies conceal such incidents, mostly out of fear of damage to their reputation.

See also: Corporate mission statement; SMEs; Corruption; Data protection; Code of conduct

Reference to QET criteria: E01 Business ethics; E02 Trust

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