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Fraud barometer

For the first six months of 2018, the ‘Fraud Barometer’ by auditors KPMG of alleged fraud cases with losses of £100,000 or more reaching the UK courts reached £895m by value. That follows 2017’s record year which had registered £3.6 billion of alleged fraud – the largest value in the Barometer’s 31 year history. The audit firm recorded 252 cases during January to June; over 25pc higher than the volume of cases heard in any six month period and just seven fewer cases than recorded for the whole of 2017. International fraud accounts for 80pc of these cases by value; and evasion of duty and cross-border smuggling exceeds £100m, according to the auditors.

James Maycock, Director Forensic, KPMG in the UK said: “Professional criminals have become early adopters of technology to target their victims – others have taken to providing fraud tools as a service. Entrepreneurial criminals sell hacking and distribution tools, as well as services – including spam generators, malware distributors and bots. With such technology and tools readily available on the dark web, the barrier to entry is low – it only requires an individual with intent and a small amount of money. And with technology evolving at such a ferocious rate it is likely to be shaped by the intrinsic value of data that these technologies can manipulate – and how it is protected – and everyone’s data is at risk.”

As for professional criminal gangs, the audit firm gave one example of a £3m case that touched on a much larger international criminal enterprise, described by one witness as perhaps the world’s biggest bank robbery. A gang sold thousands of card skimmers to clients across the globe that were then used to attack ATMs. The true cost of the fraud was estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The leader of the gang was also the director of a company registered in the UK, aptly named after the card reader fraud it was committing.


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