I Just Gave Myself a Raise -
How I Defrauded Your Payroll System

Devandran Naicker

Results driven and effectual leader with more than 12 years multi-faceted manufacturing experience with proven ability to turnaround troubled business units.

Strong general management qualification and experience in strategy development, management of manufacturing facilities, production scheduling and control, Inventory/materials management, project development and management, distribution, budgeting/ financial analysis, human resources and capital improvement.

Talent for proactively identifying and resolving problems & reversing negative trends within business units.

Listen to my 12 min interview with ScottCundill.com on "Creating a Corruption-Free Zone" in your business.

It took less than 40 minutes for a fraudulent salary slip to be generated in a downtown Johannesburg internet café. The pay slip was generated from scratch and the final ‘product’ had all the hallmarks of an original – format, font and even the payroll company’s logo.

A fraudulent pay slip is a ticket to ‘free credit’ – home loans, credit cards and store credit that will never be repaid, costing the South African economy billions in lost revenue annually.

And the fraud continues with dishonest employees easily altering authentic payslips using computer software like scanners, PDF programmes and clone tools to give themselves ‘virtual’ raises they too can use to apply for credit they can’t afford.

Employers are also targets for these crooks who inflate their salaries from their previous employer, putting them in line for undeserved salary increases at their new company.

What is the value of a salary slip if its authenticity cannot be trusted?

Apart from the obvious economic loss to business, this practice begs the question, “What is the value of a salary slip if its authenticity cannot be trusted?” A pay slip forms the backbone of our credit economy. Access to credit is regulated by the National Credit Act which provides strict guidelines to credit providers to prevent unaffordable consumer indebtedness. If business cannot trust the authenticity of a pay slip issued by the pay roll companies, we surely need another solution.

We can increase the value of the pay slip by turning it into a high value document that can be trusted by business one hundred percent.

As I see it, we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water. Rather we need to authenticate the payslips, so they can no longer be altered in any way, ensuring the accurate information is secured in a digitally encrypted signature. Revolutionary technology has made it possible to create a ‘digsig’, a digital signature housed in a QR code that encrypts the original information on a document, the authenticity of which can be verified by the digsig scanner which is conveniently downloaded from every mobile App store. This Document Verification System changes the game, ensuring every pay slip becomes an unalterable document.  This increases the value of the pay slip turning it into a high value document that can be trusted by business one hundred percent.

Fraud detection is no longer just a business imperative. It has become a growth imperative.

As South Africa finds itself leading the world in fraud and corruption (Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey South Africa 2018), with 7 out of 10 companies reporting that they had detected a fraudulent transaction in 2018, fraud detection is no longer just a business imperative, it has become a growth imperative. Whether right or wrong, CEOs and the executive boards of companies are now being held responsible for dishonest behaviour. Companies reputations are being tarnished not only for their corrupt actions but also for their inaction in preventing fraud, which is being viewed by the South African public as ‘complicit’ behaviour. Companies' that run payroll systems have the power to reimagine pay slip security and it is fast becoming evident that by not exploring new solutions, the value of their product may soon be rendered untrustworthy.

As I spend every working week on the frontline of the fight against fraud, I am more and more certain that the fight is worth it. As we remove the technological loopholes that make it possible for some South Africans to cheat the system, I see a different future for our county – one that is built on trust and integrity. A future where success is honestly earned. I think we will find a very different country on the other side.