By Stacey Floam, Matt Lyttle
Despite the historic impact on our world, COVID-19 has led to remarkable innovation among families, schools, businesses and government. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is no exception, as the agency recently developed a process for issuing public assistance (PA) disaster grants through desktop validation in lieu of on-site inspections. Desktop validation not only protects FEMA personnel from COVID-19 exposure, it also expedites the disaster grant process to communities in need. However, one key drawback of desktop validation is the increased risk of fraud. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners COVID-19 Benchmarking Report, 77% of respondents said they had observed an increase in the overall level of fraud, with one-third noting this increase has been significant. As FEMA and the rest of the world begin the journey into a post-COVID environment, it is important to implement “trust but verify” capabilities to mitigate fraud, waste and abuse risk while continuing to realize the benefits of desktop validation.
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