Value of Midlands fraud soars by 38%

The total value of fraud in the Midlands reached £56.9m in 2019, up from £41.2m the previous year, according to research carried out by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO.

The figures also showed the average value of fraud also increased to £779,000, which is a 74% uplift from 2018.

The analysis, based upon reported fraud cases over £50,000 in the UK, reveals that the UK-wide picture shows a rise in value, but the number of reported cases has dropped by 12% – with 464 cases of fraud reported in 2019 compared with 525 in 2018.

Fraudsters are now understood to be taking advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak, says BDO, with mass home working and operational shifts to e-commerce opening up new opportunities for criminals to target companies.

Sat Plaha, forensic services partner at BDO Midlands, said: “Despite the volume of reported fraud falling last year, the rise in value suggests that sophisticated fraudsters are becoming increasingly predatory.

“Compounding this, COVID-19 has provided a fertile breeding ground for fraudulent activity and we’re anticipating a spike in cases this year. Now more than ever, companies and individuals must remain vigilant and sceptical in order to protect themselves. Firms should focus on controls and ensure they give their key control owners sufficient headspace and access to the appropriate training and technology to actively monitor and mitigate the emerging fraud risks in order to remain safe.”

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