Fraud costs the UK economy £190bn as incidents soar

Alys Key
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The British economy is losing out on £190bn due to fraud (Source: Getty)

Fraud has become the most common criminal offence in the UK, as the country foots a £190bn bill for the crime every year.

This includes a cost to the economy of £140bn resulting from fraud in the private sector, according to a study by Crowe Clark Whitehill, Experian and the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies.

The public sector loses the country £40.3bn, while even charities are losing as much as £2.3bn a year.

The rise of outsourcing is thought to be a major factor in the rise of fraudulent activity, leaving stages of the procurement process open to potential scams.

Advanced technology also means that fraudsters are finding new and more effective ways to cheat people out of money. Online banking fraud has gown 226 per cent this year while telephone banking fraud is up 178 per cent.

Read more: Serious Fraud Office doubles use of orders to freeze and seize assets

"Plastic card and online banking fraud continues to increase, so new regulations which make it harder for fraudsters to use someone’s cards online are a necessary step," said Nick Mothershaw, director of fraud and identity solutions at Experian.

"Fraudsters are shamelessly opportunistic and are now turning their attention to the pensions release, lured by the promise of high value returns when their scams are successful."

Jim Gee, head of forensics and counter fraud at Crowe Clark Whitehill added that the problem was not being treated seriously enough.

"Private companies are made less stable and financially healthy; as citizens we don’t get the quality of public services that we pay our taxes to receive; and even charities don’t get to spend the full value of the donations which people make. What other problem of this size doesn’t have a proper national response?”

Read more: Fraud increased again this year as more crime takes place online

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