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UK study: Businesses think fraudsters are ahead of industry

Written on Apr 9, 2019

The fraudsters are pulling ahead in the eternal battle between businesses and the bad guys, especially in the U.K., according to a new story.

Vocalink released its third annual Business Fraud Report, which found that as much as 73% of the U.K. businesses it surveyed think the payment fraudsters are “ahead of the industry.” Additionally, 22% of respondents said someone has attempted to commit payments fraud against their businesses. A full 37% said they have either been a victim of payments fraud or know a firm that has been.

As reported last year, £1.2 billion (nearly $1.572 million USD) was lost through fraud, per statistics from UK Finance. The Vocalink data showed that, of the companies that were victimized, one in 10 thought about closing up shop.

Though the impacts of these fraud efforts have been far-reaching, internal processes leave much to be desired. The study found that only 32% of U.K. firms have put tighter standards in place to deal with payments fraud, and as much as 17% said they do not have any processes in place at all.

The Vocalink findings come against a broader backdrop, where the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that stanching corruption would mean that $1 trillion in annual tax revenues could be garnered across the globe.

“Less corruption means lower revenue leakage and less waste in expenditures, and higher quality of public education and infrastructure,” the report found.

Procurement fraud is an issue in the U.K., and these firms lag behind those in other countries that have comparably better systems in place to detect and combat fraudsters. In some cases, employees and suppliers collude to defraud firms during the procurement bidding processes. The survey found that 24% of businesses have been victims of such collusion, while 31% of businesses surveyed were exposed to contract bid rigging and 43% to duplicate invoices.