Fraudsters may be tempted to take advantage of more relaxed safety checks during the festive season, businesses have been warned.
KPMG said it had seen a “marked rise” in payment diversion fraud, where false requests are made to alter suppliers’ bank details, as employees face additional financial pressures and “businesses are in a relaxed mood”.
Priya Giuliani, a partner in KPMG’s forensic risk consulting practice, said: “Money can be tight at this time of year with higher than usual spending leading to additional pressures on employees. Combine this with a time of year when targets and bonuses are assessed and it is easy to see how employees can be tempted to falsify sales or overstate performance, so they look like they are hitting targets.
“We have also seen a marked rise in payment diversion fraud, where fake requests are made to change suppliers’ bank details so that funds are diverted into the fraudster's own bank account.”
Giuliani said more than £30,000 was lost by one business in a single transaction through payment diversion, while a total of £5 million was siphoned off in another case.
"It's particularly worrying that fraudsters often rationalise their behaviour,” she said. “They may believe that they are only 'borrowing' the money from their employer to tide them over an expensive Christmas, but the fact is that their actions can have serious repercussions on an organisation's financial stability."