Jessica 18 Jan 2017 12:08pm

UK firms second biggest victims of fraud and cyber crime worldwide

British companies have reported more incidences of fraud and cyber crime than any other country in the world, behind only Colombia

According to Kroll's Global Fraud and Risk Report, fraud incidents have risen by 16% over the last year, with 90% of respondents saying they experienced a cyber incident during the period. The global fraud average stands at 82%.

The most common types of fraud in the UK were theft of physical assets and the misappropriation of funds, with most fraudsters coming from inside the company.

Almost half (41%) of executives said that junior employees were the biggest threat, followed by senior or middle management employees (32%) and ex-employees (30%).

Alongside fraud, the UK was also named as the country with the second highest rate of cyber incidents, with 92% of executives saying they had experienced an attack or information loss in the last year, compared with the global average of 85%.

Virus infection and insider theft of customer or employee data were the most usual types of crime, at 33% and 27% respectively. While ex-employees were identified as the most common perpetrators, the most common targets were customer records.

Along with respondents in the Middle East region, those in the UK experienced the highest rate of security incidents in the past year, with theft of intellectual property being the most comment crime (51%). In the Middle East, the percentage of security incidents was 82%.

In comparison, 80% of US companies reported experiencing a fraud incident in the past 12 months, while 88% of firms were victims of a cyber breach.

Colombia was the only country ahead of the UK in terms of reported fraud and cyber security incidents, with 95% of Colombian executives saying they were affected by both crimes.

Respondents from professional services saw the greatest increase of fraud cases in the past 12 months, the report said, with 84% of then claiming to have been victims.

It found that junior employees were most likely to be responsible for the crimes.

Tommy Helsby, Kroll's co-chairman, investigations and disputes, said, “It’s becoming an increasingly risky world, with the largest ever proportion of companies reporting fraud and similarly high levels of cyber and security breaches.

“The impact of such incidents is significant, with punitive effects on company revenues, business continuity, corporate reputation, customer satisfaction, and employee morale.

“With fraud, cyber, and security incidents becoming the new normal for companies all over the world, it’s clear that organisations need to have systemic processes in place to prevent, detect, and respond to these risks if they are to avoid reputational and financial damage.”

Kroll interviewed 545 senior executives worldwide across different industries and countries between July and August 2016.