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Increase in the number of younger fraudsters say KPMG

28th July 2014

According to KPMG’s latest Fraud Barometer, the number of fraud cases involving people in their late 20 – 30’s has rocketed 285% in the first half of the year,  to just over £62m.

The report suggests a change in the profiles of fraudsters - which shift from rogue senior executives to younger individuals funding extravagant lifestyles

Analysis of the cases going through British Crown Courts since the start of 2014 shows that frauds committed by those aged 26-35 were valued at just over £62 million – an increase of 285% on the first half of 2013. Overall, however, there was a 39% drop in fraud during the period to £317m.

The decline was helped in large part by a 72% drop in frauds committed by those aged 46 and over, to £88m.

Hijacking of mobile phone accounts

The data shows that one scam, masterminded by two 26 year olds, revolved around the hijacking of mobile phone accounts. The two individuals began by creating a fake company that purchased lists containing customer details, on the pretence of marketing directly to them. 

They then assigned victims’ phone numbers to SIM cards in their possession by calling the network provider and posing as the account holder.  

Having transferred numbers to new SIMs, the fraudsters repeatedly dialled premium rate lines, only for the real customer to be billed for any calls made.  Bills totalling £2.8 million were amassed and their crimes were only discovered when customers complained that handsets could not make or receive calls.

Changing of the guard

Hitesh Patel, UK forensic partner at KPMG, says: ‘Where once it was the jaded executive who relied on unquestioned seniority and authority to get away with dipping their hands in the till, it seems we are witnessing a changing of the guard.

‘Today’s fraudster is younger and just at ease with using technology and data as selling promises. They rely on the assumption of the innocence of youth, whereas the reality is that many of these fraudsters are nothing more than a wolf in lamb’s clothing.’

He added: ‘It is important for UK organisations to recognise that youth doesn’t always equal innocence, as a confident and tech-savvy generation comes through, adept  at circumnavigating conventional controls and staying under the radar.’

For further information visit KPMG website for more information.

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