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Old fashioned cons make a comeback

There has been a rise in traditional scams such as identity fraud and procurement fraud as the number of cases and value of fraud committed by professional criminals’ drops, according to KPMG’s latest survey.

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While rogue traders and professional criminals have been behind the fraud ‘super’ cases seen in recent years, the latest ‘Fraud Barometer’ from KPMG has shown a rise in individuals committing more traditional scams such as Ponzi schemes, cheque fraud and procurement fraud.

Identity fraud more than doubled in value to £26.3m in 2012 and counterfeit goods' fraud is at a five-year high. There was also a marked increase in cases involving individuals over-claiming benefits or evading tax (15 cases compared to 3 in 2011).

Hitesh Patel, UK Forensic Partner at KPMG, says: “What we are seeing is individuals looking to feather their nests through ripping off employers, banks or the government. In the last few years we have become used to sophisticated frauds at eye-watering values.

While the total value of fraud has dropped substantially in the absence of so-called fraud ‘super’ cases, the old-fashioned con man hasn’t given up his tricks. Times may be tough but the data shows that some people are unwilling to give up the lifestyles they’ve become accustomed to.”

Professional crime down

The report suggests that there is some good news in the fight against fraud. Over the past 12 months the number of cases perpetrated by professional criminals fell from 98 at the end of 2011 (valued at £1.4 billion) to 79 in the 12 months to December 2012 (valued at £414 million).

KPMG’s Fraud Barometer has been running for 24 years, and considers major fraud cases being heard in the UK’s Crown courts where the charges are in excess of £100,000.

Read more about the fraud on the KPMG website.

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