Fraud, Waste and Abuse FAQs

1. Specifically, what are fraud, waste, and abuse?

As defined in the WSSC’s Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline Policy:

  • Fraud – Any act characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust. These acts are not dependent upon the application of threat of violence or physical force. Frauds are perpetrated by parties and organizations to obtain money, property, or services; to avoid payment or loss of services, or to secure personal or business advantage. These acts include the use of one’s occupation for personal enrichment. Fraud examples include, but are not limited to misappropriation schemes that steal or misuse company resources via false invoicing, payroll fraud, skimming, as well as complex financial statement fraud.
  • Waste
    • Resources consumed in excess through inefficient, nonessential, or unproductive activities;
    • process or material that does not add value to a good or service; or
    • material discharged to, deposited in, or emitted to an environment in such amount or manner that causes a harmful change.
  • Abuse – Anything that is harmful, injurious, or offensive. Abuse also includes excessive and wrongful misuse of anything, including authority/power. Examples of abuse include non-business use of office supplies, bid rigging, purchases schemes, and invoice kickbacks.

2. Should individuals use the WSSC Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline?

Yes.  Hotline: 1-877-WSSCFWA (1-877-977-2392) or online at Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline

3. Will my call be confidential?

The Network does not use Caller Identification technology or track phone numbers; therefore, your identity will be confidential unless you choose to disclose your identity.

4. Am I required to provide my name when I use the Hotline?

No. You have the option of remaining anonymous or disclosing your name. If you choose to remain anonymous, a unique identifying number will be assigned to you for follow-up questions and/or updates on investigations.

5. Who am I calling when I use the Hotline?

The WSSC’s Hotline is administered by a third-party vendor called The Network. The Network is also the Hotline provider for more than 1,000 business clients, including the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Montgomery County Inspector General’s Office.

6. What should I expect when I call the Hotline?

A highly trained, experienced interview specialist will ask you a series of questions to obtain information about the incident you are reporting. The information obtained will then be communicated to the Internal Audit Office for appropriate handling.

7. Why do we have a Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline?

We have a WSSC Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline because it helps promote integrity in the workplace and initial detection of occupational fraud is primarily done through Hotline tips. The second and third ways of detection are through management review and Internal Audit, respectively.

8. What is occupational fraud?

Occupational fraud is defined by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners as “the use of one’s occupation for personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse or misapplication of the employing organization’s resources or assets.”

9. Is the Hotline just for WSSC employees?

No. The Hotline is also available to the public.

10. What are the Hotline’s hours of operation?

The WSSC’s Hotline is available for use 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. It also accepts reports in more than 150 languages.

12. Where can I find a copy of the WSSC’s Code of Ethics?

You can find a copy of the WSSC Code of Ethics here.  

13. What information should I provide when I call the Hotline?

We ask that you provide the following information:

  • Date, time and location of the incident
  • Description of the incident
  • Individual(s) involved
  • Amount/value of theft or fraud (if known)
  • Documentation (if available)
  • How often the incident occurred
  • Steps already taken to resolve the issue

14. Should I use the Hotline to file a complaint about a suspected Ethics Code violation, request a Board of Ethics Advisory Opinion, or request a Code of Ethics Waiver?

No. Requests for Code of Ethics Waivers or Board of Ethics Advisory Opinions; as well as routine ethics inquiries should continue to be directed to the Ethics Officer at 301-206-8010. However, some complaints about suspected Code of Ethics violations can also be reported to the Hotline.

15. If I experience an emergency involving danger or injury while at work, should I call the Hotline?

No. You should call 911 for immediate assistance and notify the WSSC’s Police Department at 301-206-8282. 

16. What types of incidents should I report to the Hotline?

Any incidents you observe that are believed to be illegal, unethical, or suspicious should be reported to the Hotline. Some examples, include, but are not limited to:

  • Falsification of company records
  • Theft of cash, goods, services, and/or time
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Stolen WSSC property
  • Kickbacks/bribery
  • Contract or procurement fraud
  • Fraudulent reimbursement or travel claims
  • Whistleblower retaliation

17. Can I check on the status of my reported incident?

Yes. All reported incidents are assigned a report number. Depending on the reporting method used, and using your report number, you will either be able to call back or access your report via the web to see if additional information is needed or check on its status.

18. If the incident I report leads to an investigation, how long will it take for the incident to be investigated?

The time it takes to complete an investigation will vary with each case and greatly depends upon the complexity of the issue(s) under investigation, as well as the suspected parties involved.

19. What happens if the incident I reported is investigated and found to be true (substantiated)?

There can be serious personal, legal and/or business consequences if a WSSC investigation reveals that an employee engaged in conduct constituting fraud, waste or abuse or for those who violate the WSSC Code of Ethics, the WSSC Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline Policy and/or the WSSC Comprehensive Whistleblower Protection Regulation. Violations could result in disciplinary action, up to and including release from employment, a public reprimand from the Board of Ethics, and/or court imposed civil fines. In addition, matters that are referred for criminal prosecution could result in imprisonment. 

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