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Alleged fraud reaches £319m in H1

Fraud remains a persistent threat with over £319 million of alleged fraud hitting UK courts in the first half of 2019.

Alleged fraud reaches £319m in H1
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Alleged fraud reaches £319m
  • Staff Reporter
  • August 22, 2019
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Over £319 million of alleged fraud hit UK courts in the first half of 2019, down from £345 million in the same period last year, according to KPMG’s Fraud Barometer, released this week.

According to KPMG, 217 cases of alleged fraud were heard in courts across the country, a decrease of 13 per cent on the same time last year, which saw 249 cases.

The Fraud Barometer, which records fraud cases coming to UK Courts with a value of £100,000 and above, noted a worrying commercialisation of cyber crime and a number of repeat offenders making their way back to court among the cases recorded.   

In one case, a cyber criminal who created a virus and launched an attack that knocked a communications company in Liberia offline was jailed for 32 months. He had been paid $30,000 by a rival company to cause the mass disruption, which the victim spent $600,000 repairing, KPMG said.

The data also recorded a 57 per cent increase in the number of account takeover cases reaching court, where digital scammers used a range of techniques including email, SMS and apps to get a hold of personal data that then enabled them to take over bank and credit card accounts.

In one case, a Tyneside man who was the UK front of a scam conducted in India was jailed for 28 months at Newcastle Crown Court.

“We are noting a worrying move from criminals simply hacking as a means to an end to being industrialised personal data brokers on the dark web,” said Roy Waligora, KPMG UK head of investigations.

“As our digital footprints get larger, cyber criminals will continue to develop new and innovative ways to steal personal data. If we are not alive to the threats, there is a great risk that we increase our vulnerability to criminals through our inaction.”

He explained that while the UK introduced new cyber attack regulations in June this year, which require banks to repay funds to customers stolen as a result of account takeover, consumers will continue to bear such costs indirectly.

Another trend coming through in the Fraud Barometer data saw a number of repeat offenders heading back to court. In one case a fraudster was caught trying to pay a £100,000 tax fraud debt with money he had stolen by staging another scam. 

"Whilst for most fraudsters, being caught and convicted once is enough to ensure they don’t continue to commit crime, for some the lure of the prize on offer is too much to resist – regardless of the consequences," Mr Waligora concluded.  

"Businesses need to ensure they are doing thorough due diligence on the people they are hiring into their organisations – particularly if they are filling roles with financial responsibilities."

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