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Fraud folk expect surge

Most fraud prevention professionals believe businesses are unprepared for an expected surge in fraud, even as the Covid-19 crisis presents fraudsters with new opportunities. This came out of a survey of those attending the recent annual conference by the fraud prevention trade body Cifas.

Nearly three-quarters of those attending the conference believed that COVID-19 and its economic effects would have a ‘significant’ impact on levels of fraud, with Cifas warning that the pandemic has presented fraudsters with ways to steal money and information from the public.

The majority of those surveyed (91pc) said levels of fraud this year would be higher or much higher than in 2019. This follows the announcement by Cifas earlier this year that incidents of reported fraudulent conduct reached an all-time high in 2019. Cifas members recorded over 364,000 cases to the National Fraud Database in 2019 – the highest number recorded to the database.

Almost all of the fraud prevention professionals (93pc) said they believed the level of fraud would be higher or much higher in 2021 when compared to 2020.

Nick Downing, Chief Intelligence Officer for Cifas, was among the conference speakers. He said of the findings: ‘On top of the fact that 80 per cent of fraud prevention professionals think businesses are unprepared for the current levels of fraud, they are also warning that 2021 could see one of the biggest spikes in fraudulent activity. This should sound alarm bells for the business community.

‘The continuing challenges around the COVID-19 pandemic as well as uncertainty around the economy are presenting new opportunities for fraudsters. Now more than ever, businesses need to ensure that they have robust fraud prevention procedures in place and that their staff are well prepared to take on the growing challenge of fraud over the coming year.’

Among the topics at the September event was mass home working and potential for internal frauds; a debate chaired by Cifas Member Relationship Manager Tracey Carpenter.


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