Many businesses are losing millions to scams and fraud

Businesses in the UK are falling victim to fraud and other forms of economic crime more frequently than the global average.

This is according to a new PwC report, called the Global Economic Crime Survey. Polling 1,296 respondents worldwide (including 107 from the UK), the consultancy firm found that 64% of UK firms experienced such an incident in the last two years, up from 56% in 2020, and up from the global average of 46%.

Of all the fraud types, cybercrime is the most common, with a third (32%) having fallen victim to a cyberattack. Although this figure is down since the previous 2020 poll, suggesting businesses are getting better at defending themselves, experts are under the impression that something entirely different is at play here.

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Defending against fraud

“From what we are seeing in the market, I believe some of the trends are temporary, with, for example, instances of fraud and misconduct potentially remaining undiscovered as traditional controls and corporate culture evolve to keep pace with remote working,” said Fran Marwood, Partner and Head of Digital & Forensic Investigations.

In other words, there weren’t fewer cybercrime incidents, businesses just aren’t as quick to identify and report them as before. But some firms really did tighten up on security, she added.

“Encouragingly, in some cases, incidences of economic crimes have reduced due to the investment organizations have made in effective compliance programs, cyber defenses and fraud prevention controls.”

Supply chain fraud, which became super popular with the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic and remote working, now accounts for almost a fifth (19%) of all fraud incidents. 

In the UK, more than half (51%) of the attacks were committed by external fraudsters, up from 43% on a global level. The top three external fraudsters include customers, hackers, and vendors/suppliers. 

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