UK sees more fraud cases but at lower values

Gurjit Degun
20 January 2014

20 January 2014 | Gurjit Degun

A higher volume of fraud cases was prosecuted in the UK in 2013 than in 2012 but at much lower value levels.

That’s according to the KPMG bi-annual Fraud Barometer, which found the average case value in 2013 was £2.9 million, compared with £6.1 million over the past five years.

The report found that the total fraud loss per year in 2013 was £829 million, an increase from £824 million in 2012. But this figures is significantly lower than the £3.5 billion recorded in 2011.

The report also revealed that some fraudsters have reverted to 'traditional' (non-digital) methods as firms “focus their efforts on technology-driven defences”.

KPMG pointed to a case worth £20 million, where a businessman paid a series of worthless company cheques into an account based in the UK. The Barometer also found a focus on “old-fashioned scams is evident through a resurgence of cases involving tax rebates, loans and mis-selling. The three forms of fraud equated to more than £343 million, an increase from £41 million in the previous year.

KPMG said: “It shows that, although the motivation to deceive comes in a variety of forms, many criminals are still prepared to rely on the traditional conman artistry of making financial gain through misplaced trust, attacking people’s vulnerabilities and sensibilities.”

However, there were also many cases of cyber crime, one of which involved a £1.3 million theft. Hitesh Patel, UK forensic partner at KPMG, said: “It is certainly the case that we have seen fraudsters using very clever high tech frauds to attack banks, businesses and local authorities, but we have also seen some of the biggest frauds in more low tech scams. 

“As old forms of transactions, such as cheques, are phased out, organisations are focusing on developing sophisticated lines of defence. Yet, rather than putting criminals off, many fraudsters are ignoring the challenge of triumphing over technology in favour of using simpler methods of deception.”

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