Businesses lose £682m through fraud

Businesses are being urged to do more to protect themselves from fraud, after Action Fraud figures show reported losses reached £682m last year

Data obtained by RSM the UK’s national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre reveals that businesses submitted 59,192 reports about fraud in 2018-19, with an average loss of around £11,500 per case.

The highest losses resulted from corporate employee fraud (accounting for £214m in losses), followed by mandate fraud (accounting for almost £100m in losses). Mandate fraud occurs when an employee is tricked into redirecting a regular payment mandate to a fraudster's account.

Fraud involving cheque, plastic card and online bank accounts was not far behind, accounting for £98m, while hacking via social media or email resulted in £11m of losses. Fraud by abuse of position of trust led to £10m of fraud, while false accounting fraud was close to £4m.

Tim Merritt, RSM fraud and forensics partner, said: ‘The amounts being lost by business to fraud are eye-watering, but the figures probably underestimate total losses as unidentified frauds cannot necessarily be quantified.

'While some larger businesses are able to absorb the impact of fraud, for smaller and mid-sized firms, the effects can be more severe, even putting the future viability of the business at risk. 

'Preventing fraud need not be arduous or expensive. A robust anti-fraud and bribery policy supported by the right training, business processes and controls can be very effective.’

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