Fraud rises to its highest level in 12 years (but fraudsters are stealing less each time)

Emma Haslett
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The number of frauds might have risen - but at least their value has dropped (Source: Getty)

The number of reported cases of fraud rose four per cent to 546 in 2014, its highest figure in more than 12 years, according to findings by accountancy giant BDO.

But the research also found that the average value of fraud cases fell 34 per cent during the year, from £2m in 2013 to £1.3m in 2014, while the average value of fraud fell 31 per cent, to its lowest value since 2003. So that's encouraging.

BDO's FraudTrack, which examines fraud cases worth more than £50,000, identified two crimes - a film tax evasion case, and a money laundering operation at a bureau de change - which made up almost a third of all reported cases in 2014. Stripping those two out, the average value of those left over was £900,000, a fall of more than half since 2013.

The good news was that fraud in the finance and insurance sectors are on the wane: the figure more than halved from £523m in 2013 to £236m in 2014, although the overall volume of cases only fell 11 per cent.

Of that, mortgage and money laundering were by far the most expensive, accounting for 74 per cent of the total value of fraud, but just 47 per cent of cases.

And while overall, tax fraud was by far the most prolific type, accounting for a third of all activity, employees fiddling the numbers made up £71m worth of frauds, or 10 per cent of activity.

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