Reporting Fraud, Waste, and Abuse
The State Fraud, Waste and Abuse Hotline (Hotline) provides the opportunity for citizens and state employees to anonymously report suspected incidents of fraud, waste, or abuse that may have occurred in any state executive agency or university. State employees are encouraged to first report fraud, waste, and abuse to management, however, the Hotline provides an alternative way of reporting concerns. The Office of the State Inspector General administers the Hotline. Governor Robert F. McDonnell signed Executive Order Number 52 (2012), expanding the Hotline program, which was first implemented in October 1992. The new Hotline program is now also open to the citizens of the Commonwealth.
How can you tell if you have witnessed fraud, waste, or abuse?
We all know the difference between right and wrong. Sometimes a coworker may be doing something that everybody knows is wrong, but nobody says anything about it. Other issues may not be as obvious, so the following definitions of fraud, waste, and abuse, that we use for the Hotline, may be of assistance:
Fraud - Fraud consists of a false representation of the facts, including making false or misleading statements, or trying to hide wrongdoing. The deception is intentional and usually results in a benefit to the person committing the fraud, or could cause damage, harm, or loss to others or the Commonwealth. (Example: falsifying financial records to cover up the theft of money or state property;
Waste - Waste is considered the unnecessary spending or careless squandering of the Commonwealths executive branch resources, whether intentional or unintentional. Sometimes, inefficient or ineffective business practices may result in waste. (Example: spending state funds to purchase items that have no business purpose);
Abuse - Abuse is the intentional destruction, diversion, manipulation, misapplication, mistreatment, or misuse of the Commonwealths executive branch resources; the excessive or improper use of state property; or the extravagant or excessive use of a person's position or authority. Abuse can occur in a financial or non-financial environment. (Example: Using a state vehicle for non-state business or taking time off from work without properly reporting leave.)
When can you call the Hotline and what happens when you do?
- You may call the toll-free Hotline phone number, 800-723-1615, between the hours of 8:15 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, excluding state holidays. The toll-free number works only within Virginia and not from Maryland, the District of Columbia, etc. Calls are received through a non-traceable line that does not show a caller ID phone number. Hotline calls are NOT recorded;
- Your call will be answered by an OSIG Hotline staff member, not a recorded system. The employee answering your call does not know who you are or where you are calling from;
- You will be told not to disclose your identity in order to protect your anonymity. The Hotline employee does not even write down if the caller is male or female;
- You will be asked to describe your concern in as much detail as possible. In order to perform a thorough investigation, the Hotline employee will need you to provide the agency name and the names of the people involved in your concern;
- Each call is initially evaluated or "screened" to determine whether or not the allegations involve fraud, waste, or abuse of state resources, or if they fall outside the scope of the Executive Order;
- A case number is assigned to each call that passes the first screening. The number will be provided to you. This will allow you to call back to provide additional information or to check the status of your case and still remain anonymous;
- Cases then undergo a second screening process to identify allegations that do not contain sufficient detail to conduct a thorough and effective investigation, or do not meet other screening criteria established by the OSIG;
- Cases are assigned for investigation to the Internal Audit Director or Hotline Coordinator within the applicable agency, or to the OSIG depending upon the nature of the allegation; and
- It is the goal of the OSIG that all investigations be completed within 60 days of receipt of the allegation. If additional time is necessary, a request to the OSIG for an extension is required.
For detailed information explaining the complete Hotline process, you may visit the following websites:
In the near future, we hope to update the OSIG web address to reflect OSIG in the web domain name. You will be promptly notified when this occurs.
What if you are reluctant to call the Hotline, but really want to report a problem?
You may send a written account of your concern by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax (804-371-0165), or by U.S. mail (FWA Hotline, P.O. Box 1971, Richmond, VA 23218). Please provide as many details as possible. If you are interested in checking the status of your concern, several days after you send in your documents you may contact our office so that we can provide you with your assigned case number. This case number should be referred to when inquiring about the status of your concern.
What kind of calls should NOT be made to the Hotline?
- Allegations against private citizens, businesses and other non-state entities are outside the scope of the Hotline program:
- Allegations involving employee grievances or discrimination complaints should be reported to the Division of Employment Dispute Resolution (DEDR) or the Office of Equal Employment Services, both of which are offices within the Department of Human Resource Management;
- Allegations against state legislators and constitutional officers of localities should be reported to the Auditor of Public Accounts; and
- Allegations against judges and court staff should be reported to the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commissioner.
Thank you for your support of the Hotline. Together we can ensure that Virginia maintains its ranking as one of the best managed states in the nation.
If you have any questions concerning the Hotline, please contact the Office of the State Inspector General at 804-786-6317.