The UK has seen a double-digit rise in economic crime against corporates in the last two years with 55% of organisations affected (up 11% since 2014), according to PwC’s latest Global Economic Crime Survey. Sixty per cent of economic crime in the UK was committed by external perpetrators, up from 56% in 2014. While there was a decline in the number of organisations reporting economic crime perpetrated by employees (31%), there was a large increase in frauds committed by senior management which more than doubled from 7% to 18%.

Cybercrime has experienced the fastest growth of all economic crime. Some 44% of UK organisations that had experienced economic crime in the last 24 months were affected by cyber incidents, a jump of 20% from 2014 – substantially higher than the global response of 32%.

Just over half (51%) of UK respondents said they expect to be the victim of cybercrime in the next two years, suggesting it will become the UK’s largest economic crime. However, only 12% of respondents believe that law enforcement authorities have the necessary skills and resources to investigate it. Almost a third of UK respondents have no cyber response plan in place.

PwC suggests that the fast take up of cloud-based storage and growing prevalence of the “internet of things” are some of the reasons for this year’s steep increases in cybercrime in the UK, leaving anything connected to the office network now vulnerable to hackers.

Global corporate intelligence leader at PwC, Mark Anderson, comments: “Hackers are now more ambitious than ever. Their aim goes beyond targeting financial information to include a company’s ‘crown jewels’ – customer data and intellectual property information, the loss of which, can bring down an entire business.”

Other findings from the survey include:
•20% of UK organisation say they have never performed a fraud risk assessment while 44% do so annually.
•5% of respondents say they have been asked to pay a bribe in the past 24 months while 7% feel they lost a business opportunity to a competitor who was willing to pay it.
•22% of frauds were detected through suspicious transaction monitoring, fraud risk management (14%); data analytics (8%); internal audit (8%) and accidental discovery (8%).

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