International Fraud Awareness Week occurs globally in the third week of November. This year, the event takes place from November 13–November 19. The aim is to raise awareness of fraud through fraud prevention campaigns and education.

Two in three UK companies (64%) say they have experienced fraud or economic crime in the last two years, according to figures from PwC’s latest Global Economic Crime Survey 2022. This is above the global average for this year (46%), as well as being higher than the last time the survey was conducted in 2020 (56%).

Of the types of fraud reported, cybercrime was the most frequent with almost a third (32%) experiencing a cyber breach, although this is less than the number of those who fell victim to cybercrime in the 2020 survey (42%). Supply chain fraud, included for the first time in the survey accounted for almost a fifth of respondents (19%).

The cost-of-living crisis is causing a surge in fraud attempts

It’s been widely reported that the cost-of-living crisis is having a huge impact on fraud in the UK, with trends as phishing attacks – when perpetrators attempt to trick users into clicking a bad link – targeting those in difficult financial situations. In fact, according to Citizens Advice, more than 40m people have been targeted by scammers this year – a 14% increase compared to last year.

The types of messages being sent by email and text include the promise of energy and council tax rebates or encouraging people to apply for a ‘cost of living payment’, mimicking genuine government support packages.

In the two weeks to 5 August, more than 1,500 reports were made to the suspicious emails reporting service (SERS), run by the National Cyber Security Centre, about scam emails pretending to be legitimate energy rebates from Ofgem, the energy regulator.

But energy fraud isn’t the only threat to face UK businesses. Cifas, the UK’s Fraud prevention community, reported that as a result of the cost of living crisis, some industries are facing significant challenges with rising costs causing a surge in fraud.

Examples include the motor finance sector which has been particularly hard hit, seeing a 13% increase in fraud in the first nine months of 2022, compared with the same period in 2021. With inflation at a 40-year high, individuals may look to alter or provide false bank statements or wage slips to inflate their income to appear more credit worthy. This type of application fraud has risen by 16% within the motor finance sector and now accounts for almost half of all motor finance cases.

The impact of fraud on businesses

As a result of fraud, organisations can suffer in more ways than just financially. Fraud can be seriously detrimental to a business and its employees.

Fraud can lead to:

  • Lost resources
  • Reduced productivity
  • Diminished morale
  • Wasted time and money investments into investigation
  • Punishment and remediation
  • Reputational damage

Which in turn, creates a rippling effect for employees too and can lead to reduced salaries and bonuses, potential redundancies, enhanced disciplinary procedures, a decline in morale and a general lack of trust in the organisation.

It’s clear that organisations are now more at risk from fraud than they have ever been – whether financial fraud, investment scams, blood donation phishing or CV fraud – the challenges to protect themselves and their customers have never been greater.

Prevention is key to tackling fraud

At DeltaNet, we conducted our own research into Google’s online search habits over the last four years and found that there has been a 70% increase in the demand for fraud awareness training for employees. This data is encouraging and suggests that businesses are recognising the need to act and educate their employees on the threats and effects of fraud on an organisation.

All staff are accountable for detecting fraud and protecting the organisation from its consequences. Through training and education employees can learn about the dire consequences of fraudulent activities, how to detect and prevent fraud as well as how to report it.

Get your free trial of our fraud awareness courses

In support of International Fraud Awareness Week, we’re inviting employers to take advantage of a 7-day free trial of our fraud awareness eLearning courses.

The courses, which each take between 5 to 20 minutes to complete, include:

  • False invoicing
  • Fraud awareness
  • Tackling Tax evasion
  • Fraud detection and reporting
  • …and more.

 To access your free trial, click here.

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