The UK has shot up the corporate fraud rankings with an annual spike in incidences

 
Oliver Gill
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Theft of physical assets was the most common type of fraud in the UK, the survey found (Source: Getty)

Fraud incidents have shot up at UK businesses during 2016, catapulting Britain towards the summit of global corporate fraud rankings.

Over the last 12 months the proportion of British businesses saying they had been affected by fraud jumped from 74 per cent to 90 per cent.

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Only Columbia, with an incidence rate of 95 per cent, was ahead of the UK in the global rankings compiled by risk consultants Kroll. The figures compare with a global average incidence rate of 82 per cent.

The UK (92 per cent) and Columbia (95 per cent) also occupied second and first places respectively in relation to cyber crime.

“One reason for the growth in reported incidents by UK organisations could be that companies are simply more aware of their responsibilities and vulnerabilities and have now accepted that managing and reporting fraud, cyber and security incidents is part of ‘business as usual’,” said Tommy Helsby, the co-chairman of Kroll investigations and disputes.

Indeed, executives from the UK were more likely to feel highly vulnerable to a wide range of incidents than respondents in other countries around the world.

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Staff turnover

The Kroll survey found high staff turnover was the key driver of Britain’s businesses being affected by fraud. This compares with the US, where 80 per cent of businesses said they had been impacted, with the driver behind fraud being the complexity of IT infrastructure.

The most common type of fraud in the UK was the physical theft of assets or stock with junior employees most frequently being the perpetrators. The survey found British fraudsters were most likely to be discovered by a whistle blower at the company.

The news comes a week after another leading poll revealed the total value of frauds reported increased by just under a third last year to reach a five-year peak, with London remaining a criminal hotspot.