Threat Management, Threat Management

Brexit leading to rising tide of scams, says KPMG Fraud Barometer

Economic uncertainty following the Brexit vote is creating the perfect conditions for cyber-fraud, according to KPMG's Fraud Barometer.

The barometer measures cases reaching UK courts that are valued at more than £100,000. Although the extent of high-value fraud was seen to dip in this reporting period, the report said that this was a statistical anomaly.

Hitesh Patel, a forensic partner at KPMG, said the fraudsters constructed convincing “reputational illusions” in order to convince senior managers and owners of companies to hand over eye-watering sums of money.

This is helped by tight economic conditions, such as those anticipated as a result of Brexit, which will drive more businesses to try non-traditional methods of raising capital. In one case cited by KPMG, a shipping company was defrauded of £73 million by a man who said he had access to a secretive trading platform operated by the Pope. The company was desperate to purchase a new ship and the fraudster convinced the management it could leverage a 1200 percent return.

UK authorities are currently working on a number of fraud cases valued at more than £100 million each, and they were also carefully watching the healthcare sector where incidents of fraud are rising sharply.

"As the environment for business continues to be tight and competitive, fraudsters are able to hide easily among genuine businesses,” said Patel.

John Lord, managing director at identity data intelligence firm GBG, believes businesses could slow down the fraudsters by being more transparent with their data.  

“In the fight against fraud, businesses not only need to remain alert but also need to realise how effective data transparency can be as a way of battling fraud,” he said. “When data is shared freely between the public and private sectors, across geographical and political boundaries and amongst international bodies, a more accurate picture of global fraud patterns can be established.”

He added: “If everything is secret, how can anything be checked or corroborated? By being able to use accurate data to connect the dots, predict algorithms and identify behaviour patterns, we can start to build up an intelligent view of fraud, on a global scale.”

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