Harder times are leading to a rise in both the number and value of larger frauds, according to new figures.
More people are committing large-scale frauds worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, according to the latest Fraud Barometer by analysts KPMG. It looks at fraud cases in the UK's crown courts where the amount stolen exceeds £100,000.
Last year, the value of identity fraud cases in crown courts was £26.3 million, compared to £12.3 million in 2011. And Ponzi Schemes worth £72 million came to trial, up significantly from the £20 million seen in 2011.
Counterfeit goods fraud was three times the five-year average at £22.9 million and procurement fraud increased to £21.4 million.
And there were also increases in the number of cases where people had over-claimed benefits or evaded tax.
Internal fraud on the increase
Of the financial loss suffered by companies through fraud, 80% was caused by management or employees. The number of these cases reaching court rose from 22 in 2011 to 35 in 2012, with the value of these frauds more than doubling from £12 million to £25.1 million.
One finance department employee stole hundreds of thousands of pounds to pay for a luxury lifestyle. Her actions caused her employer to be placed into administration and the loss of 20 jobs.
Hitesh Patel, UK Forensic Partner at KPMG, said: “For all the talk of austerity, measures really kick in this year and accordingly we expect to see an increase in this kind of fraud this year as personal pressures mount for individuals.”
Patel warns companies to be on their guard against possible fraudsters: “For example, we are seeing a large number of clients being approached by suppliers purporting to have changed their bank details at present, and requesting payment to the updated account. In a number of cases, sadly we are seeing this succeed."
However, fraud by so-called professional criminals has fallen, with 79 cases in 2012 (worth £414 million), down from 98 in 2011 (valued at £1.4 billion).
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