typing on computer

More than half of all crime is now fraud and cybercrime

Jim Gee, Partner and Head of Forensic Services
28/10/2020
typing on computer

Today saw the publication of the latest quarterly monthly crime statistics for England and Wales published by the Office for National Statistics. They cover the 12 month period ending June 2020, and thus capture what was happening for at least three months of the period after the COVID-19 lockdown.

The statistics show 4.3 million incidents of fraud and 1.6 million incidents of cybercrime - a jump of 65% in cybercrime and 12% in fraud compared to the 12 months ending June 2019.

Even more worryingly, while the figures are for a 12 month period, a comparison with the previous quarterly figures shows that this increase has occurred in the April to June period of 2020, i.e. the period after the COVID health and economic crisis hit. The size of the increase needed in a single quarter to result in a 65% increase over the whole 12 months could mean actual increases of up to four times this percentage. The figures also show that more than half of all crime is now fraud and cybercrime.

I warned in April that this would happen, and that organisations needed to ramp up their protection against the surge in fraud and cybercrime - this tidal wave is now hitting us, but it’s not too late to act.

Cybercrime protection involves the following key steps:

  • understanding an organisation’s vulnerabilities
  • protecting it as well as possible but understanding that an attack is likely – there is no magic technology which can provide 100% protection
  • planning to manage any attack when it happens
  • planning to recover and mitigate any damage.

Protection against fraud involves the following key steps:

  • communicating messages to the honest majority internally and externally that they need to increase their vigilance
  • communicating messages to the dishonest minority that extra vigilance is in place and that the organisation is determined to protect itself
  • profiling high risk areas within and without the organisation
  • using the latest data science techniques to detect fraud as soon as possible
    making sure that you have access to the right specialist professional skills to conduct an investigation in the current restricted contact situation.

As the crime statistics show, this very moment there are some people out there contemplating how they can dishonestly thrive at our expense. There will also be those under financial pressure planning to maintain their wealth by dishonest means.

Legitimate businesses need to protect themselves properly. Our crisis must not become the fraudsters and cybercriminals opportunity.

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Jim Gee
Jim Gee
Partner, National Head of Forensic Services
London