Neighbourhood Watch partner Get Safe Online reveals that more than £1 billion has been lost by businesses to online crime in the last year.

  • On average, police forces are seeing a reported £19 million lost by businesses in their area
  • 22% increase in crimes reported to Action Fraud in the last year
  • Get Safe Online is urging businesses to better train staff to spot the signs of fraud

With online crime becoming an increasing threat for businesses, new figures from Get Safe Online and Action Fraud released today (June 13, 2016) show that from March 2015 – March 2016, a total of £1,079,447,765 was reported lost by businesses to online crime*.

This comes as Action Fraud saw a 22% increase from 30,475 in 2014 – 2015, to 37,070 crimes reported in the last year.

On average, each police force in the UK recorded £19,626,323 in losses by businesses in their area. However, the true picture could be even higher, as these figures do not take into account the amount potentially lost by those businesses who choose not to report online crime to the police.

From these latest figures, it’s evident that businesses need to do more to ensure staff across the board have appropriate online fraud awareness training, so that everyone understands their role in keeping the business secure. A substantial amount of attempted fraud against businesses is successful due to lack of knowledge or sloppy habits by their employees.

The online crimes businesses must watch out for

Delving into the figures, it’s evident that Mandate Fraud is becoming an increasingly worrying issue for businesses. This occurs when a fraudster gets victims to change a direct debit or standing order by pretending to be an organisation a victim makes regular payments to, for example a business supplier or subscription service. It’s an extremely targeted approach, and in the last year, has seen a significant 66% increase, with 2323 reported cases, compared to 1403 in 2014 – 2015.

Other types of fraud which have spiralled are CEO Fraud – where an employee is tricked into making a payment by means of an email purporting to be from a senior manager – and extortion, where files on a computer or entire network are rendered inaccessible by ransomware until a release fee is paid.

Corporate employee fraud – where employees or ex-employees obtain property or compensation through fraud, or misuse corporate cards and expenses – is also on the rise, with 1440 cases recorded in 2015 – 2016. Listed in the top ten most reported crimes by businesses in the last 12 months, this demonstrates how fraud is not just an external threat, but can also affect a business from the inside. It is therefore vital for all businesses to provide their staff with the right tools and training to be able to identify signs of fraud or suspicious activity, before it’s too late, as well as having guidelines in place on whistleblowing.

To read the full press release see GetSafeOnline

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* Crimes reported to the NFIB between 31st March 15 – 31st March 16