Federal Fraud Hotline Operations

T-AFMD-90-2: Published: Nov 13, 1989. Publicly Released: Nov 13, 1989.

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GAO discussed the status of federal fraud hotline operations, focusing on: (1) accessibility, advertising, and staffing; and (2) the possibility of centralizing reporting for all federal fraud, waste, and abuse. GAO found that: (1) all of the 25 hotlines reviewed generally operated well in terms of accessibility, advertising, and staffing; (2) 22 of the 25 had 24-hour accessibility, while only 3 hotlines operated only during business hours and did not have after-hours recorded messages; (3) in most cases, hotline personnel had experience in hotline operations and in conducting audits or investigations, and received periodic formal training; (4) agencies generally targeted federal employees as their audience and used posters and listings in agency telephone directories, while a few agencies also targeted program beneficiaries and government contractor employees; (5) agencies could list their hotline numbers in local telephone directories nationwide, implement toll-free numbers, and provide agency information operators with their numbers to improve their accessibility; (6) alternatives to creating a centralized hotline included disbanding existing hotlines to form a central hotline, combining existing hotlines along such functional lines as procurement or contractor fraud, and creating a centralized switchboard to direct calls to individual agencies; and (7) the biggest drawback to centralization was the difficulty in obtaining staff sufficiently knowledgeable in all agencies' programs to recognize possible allegations and to properly screen calls.

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