Anonymous officer how to join

Management blog

Security professional Peter Birner is head of investigations at the corporate security consultancy Corporate Trust in Munich and reports that companies are getting more and more anonymous letters with, sometimes completely baseless, accusations. The big question then is: How do you react to such anonymous letters?

A scenario that is increasingly giving companies headaches: allegations, defamations or accusations arrive by anonymous letters. Either via webmail address or as letters without a sender, i.e. by post. What is it about? Often about actual or perceived grievances that the author denounces.

For example:

- "Insider criticizes the security in the EnBW nuclear power plant in anonymous letters (Stuttgarter Zeitung, May 2012) investigations.dd1bf2c5-a9d1-4df1-bc0a-c761d1fc9b05.html


- "Berlin Senators of Finance are accused of being opaque entanglements in detailed anonymous letters" (Berliner Zeitung, November 15, 2012),10809148,20882444 .html

- "Insider accuses member of the Cologne Bar Association in an anonymous letter (Kölner Stadtanzeiger, May 16, 2012),16341264,16198866.html

Ignorance to hectic operations

And how do the companies react? Everything happens, from trivializing ignorance to the outbreak of operational hectic. Ironically, when a structured and targeted approach is required. This is the only way to prevent undesirable consequences and to best identify the author.

"Your sales are impressive on a large scale", "The board member Hinterhuber has an extramarital relationship with Ms. Lola", "I know your illegal tax avoidance system ..." or "The press will certainly be very interested that your company benefits from child labor in Southeast Asia .... "," The country manager in XY is doing a lot of money in his own pocket ... "Letters from anonymous senders often contain such or similar accusations and are almost always sent directly to the chairman of the board or the supervisory board.

Unlike traditional blackmail letters that make monetary claims, this type of letter threatens to pass on internal knowledge of alleged abuses to the press, control bodies or the public prosecutor's office. The author does not want money, but internal clarification. In such letters, the authors present themselves as concerned owners of information who want to give the company the opportunity to regulate grievances itself. It is noticeable that general allegations about references to certain people are concretized and these should therefore come into the focus of investigations.

Motive: stepping down

The clarification of such cases shows that the authors are often former employees or business partners who step in out of revenge or disappointment and try to use their insider knowledge specifically against unloved people or the company in general. Whatever the motivation behind the author, the correct and appropriate response within the company to an anonymous letter is of the utmost importance.

This starts when the letter is received and ends when the author is identified. If there are firm rules for dealing with anonymous letters in the corporate structures, you can avoid unnecessary loss of time and prevent dangerous insecurity or inaction.


Use every contact opportunity

If the author gives the opportunity to contact us in his letter, this must be used. If the author feels that he is being taken seriously, the risk of further dissemination to third parties is minimized. Accusations can be questioned and substantiated. Conversely, the identity of the author can also be narrowed down and thus the motivation and validity can be assessed.

If certain people are expressly accused in the anonymous letter, the company management or the supervisory board must quickly decide whether this person should be confronted with the allegations or whether an internal investigation of the validity should take place first.

Indispensable: The data of the company departments concerned must be backed up so that the allegations can be clarified - and above all, nobody can cover up anything.

Category: General | Tags: Anonymous Letters, Anonymous Mails, Corporate Trust, Peter Birner, Whistleblower, Whistleblowing