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80% of professionals deem businesses “unprepared” for 2020 fraud levels

03 November 2020

RESEARCH CONDUCTED by Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, shows that 80% of fraud prevention professionals believe businesses are unprepared for an expected surge in fraud as the COVID-19 crisis presents fraudsters with new opportunities.

The results have arisen from a survey carried out among professionals from some of the UK’s leading organisations and financial institutions at the recent Cifas Annual Conference.

Nearly three-quarters of those attending the event believe that COVID-19 and its economic effects will have a ‘significant’ impact on levels of fraud, with Cifas warning that the pandemic has presented fraudsters with new ways in which to steal money and information from the public.

The majority of those surveyed (91%) said levels of fraud this year would be higher or much higher than in 2019. This follows on from the announcement by Cifas earlier this year that incidents of reported fraudulent conduct reached an all-time high in 2019. In fact, Cifas members recorded over 364,000 cases to the National Fraud Database in 2019. That’s the highest number recorded to the database.

More worryingly, almost all of the fraud prevention professionals (93%) questioned said they believe the level of fraud would be higher or much higher in 2021 when compared to 2020.

Nick Downing, chief intelligence officer for Cifas, said: “On top of the fact that 80% of fraud prevention professionals think businesses are unprepared for the current levels of fraud, they’re also warning that 2021 could see one of the biggest spikes in fraudulent activity. This should sound alarm bells for the business community.”

Downing continued: “The continuing challenges around the COVID-19 pandemic as well as uncertainty about the economy are presenting new opportunities for fraudsters. Now more than ever, businesses need to ensure that they have robust fraud prevention procedures in place and that their members of staff are well prepared to take on the growing challenge of fraud over the coming year.”