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Tipsters not trusting the system?

Here's how to win them back

Anonymous hotlines and tip-reporting structures are useless, of course, if informants don’t trust them. Employees won’t blow the whistle if they fear reprisals. So, their concerns often don’t enter case-management systems and frauds continue. Here’s how to earn back their trust, take them seriously and transform raw tips into valuable fraud examinations.

For 25 years, an anonymous hotline run out of the Office of the State Inspector General in Virginia has helped expose wrongdoing in state government. As of October 2017, the State Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline had received more than 16,000 calls. The top five allegations of wrongdoing included: 1) leave abuse 2) state vehicle misuse 3) violation of state hiring policy 4) misuse of state equipment and resources, and 5) non-compliance with agency policies. (See Hotline for fraud, waste, abuse in state government gets 16K calls over 25 years, by Evanne Armour, WAVY.com, Oct. 27, 2017.)

According to the article, Michael Westfall, acting state inspector general, said it isn’t always easy for whistleblowers to pick up the phone and call, but it’s important to hold the powerful accountable. “It’s difficult for folks, to report fraud, waste and abuse because oftentimes they work with these folks or they’re neighbors with these folks,” said Westfall. “However, we want citizens to be assured that their tax dollars are being spent appropriately and that folks that are in state government can be relied upon to take appropriate actions.”

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