Alleged fraud reached over £1bn in 2019

Sophisticated cyber-crime combined with traditional old school frauds have pushed the value of alleged fraud cases hitting UK Courts in 2019 to over £1bn, a new report from KPMG has revealed.

According to the firm’s Fraud Barometer, “fraudsters went back to basics” targeting commercial businesses and the general public, with alleged cases of insider fraud against businesses more than doubling in value compared with 2018.

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Over £192m of alleged fraud against businesses involving traditional embezzlement against employers, manipulating accounts or abuse of position appeared in UK Courts in 2019 compared with £109m in 2018.

Roy Waligora, KPMG UK head of investigations, said: “Following a very busy year for both the fraudsters and law enforcement, it is crucial that businesses and the general public remain on high alert against fraud as uncertain times breeds opportunity.

“In the current economic environment, disruption, change and uncertainty are all triggers that can lead to an increase in the risk of fraud and businesses should have heightened awareness of their fraud controls.”

He added: “The general economic uncertainty will also put pressure on usually law abiding staff to take risks they might not ever have normally taken. Consequently many businesses face an increased ‘threat from within’ coupled with a seemingly exponential rise in external threats.

“Employers need to be more robust with screening for new employees and third parties. Individuals who have inside knowledge of a business will often be the ones to identify the soft spots of a company’s defences for their own advantage.”

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