11 July 2011 | Adam Leach
Buyers are warned to be vigilant of
suspicious payment patterns after a KPMG report revealed that fraudsters have stolen
more than £1 billion from UK businesses this year.
The report by
the accountancy company said the
amount of money gained through fraudulent activity between January and June this
year shot up by more than 75 per cent to £1,069 million, from £608 million during
the same period last year.
partner Hitesh Patel said vigilant analysis of spending patterns and other
company data is key to identifying potentially fraudulent activities.
“The evolution of e-commerce, as well as increased reliance
on automated payment systems and the ability of professional criminals to stay
one step ahead, has swollen overall UK fraud figures,” Patel said.
KPMG said initiatives
such as whistle-blowing telephone lines, which provide employees with the
opportunity to raise suspicions confidentially, and regular reviews of
potential risk areas are key preventative measures.
The report goes on to warn that fraudsters
will increasingly be turning their attention to the vast procurement budgets on
offer in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
A previous attempt by one fraudster resulted
in the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) paying out £2.3 million to what it believed to be one of its suppliers.
It happened after the conman requested future payments to the ODA supplier be paid
into a different bank account.
An ODA spokesman said: “Throughout the
project we have worked with the Metropolitan Police Service to develop and
refine our systems to meet the changing fraud risks and will continue to do
While police were able to retrieve the money
and jail the conman in April, the incident acts as a reminder for procurement
professionals to be wary. The ODA now conducts independent verification checks
on suppliers to protect against fraudsters.
companies could limit exposure to fraud by conducting thorough assessments to identify
the areas that leave them most vulnerable.