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Fraud Barometer: October 2016 – September 2017

Fraud Barometer: October 2016 – September 2017

KPMG’s Fraud Barometer shows a decline in reported fraud in Australia, but concerns remain on government vulnerability, cyber-crime and identify theft. Our infographic report, covering a 12-month period ending September 2017, summarises reported frauds exceeding $50,000 that have been brought before Australian courts.

Martin Dougall

Partner in Charge, Forensic

KPMG Australia


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In the period October 2016 to September 2017, there were 155 frauds reported with a value of $482m – a significant drop from the previous year, which saw 259 frauds worth $823m. Government organisations were a primary target and the total value of reported frauds against this group was higher than any other.

Fraud perpetrated by professional criminals is a growing problem – this was second only to business insiders. Identity theft has risen sharply and while still a relatively small proportion of the overall fraud losses, we can expect this to climb as organised criminals target this area, using technology effectively.

Key findings

  • Government organisations experienced the highest total value of fraud at $199.1 million.
  • Technologically sophisticated fraud (including hacking, compromising computer accounts, skimming digital data and porting mobile phones) accounted for 6 percent of all frauds and 7 percent of value ($33.8m).
  • Loss due to identity theft also saw a sharp increase to nearly $17.9m.
  • The average value of a fraud remains fairly constant at around $3.1m.
  • 60 percent of frauds committed against commercial businesses were perpetrated by ‘insiders’, whereas Government and Financial Institutions were mostly targeted by external fraudsters.
  • $7m worth of cases involved money laundering charges.
  • Management level staff committed the same volume of frauds as professional criminals – each 22 percent of all cases – but the former accounted for 38 percent of total value and the latter 50 percent. General employees accounted for 26 percent of frauds but only 4 percent of the value. The number was similar to last year but much less in dollar value.
  • The most significant losses were seen as a result of embezzlement, fraudulent investment schemes and ‘boiler room’ scams – the average value of losses due to embezzlement increased this year from $6.6m to $7.6m.
  • NSW and Victoria have surged past Queensland in volume of fraud, with the southern states accounting for 78 percent of the total value, with NSW at $219m and Victoria $158m. Queensland still topped the number of frauds but it fell 44 percent in number and 83 percent by value. In South Australia, the number of frauds dropped by 50 percent and the value fell by 65 percent compared to the last period.
  • 78 percent of frauds were perpetrated by a person working alone. The proportion of frauds committed by groups has increased from 18 percent to 22 percent. Men committed 66 percent of offences.
  • Although Investors represented only 10 percent of victims, their losses were almost as significant as the government ($180m). Even so, figures this year represented a drop. Investors were victims of 10 percent of the frauds and 38 percent of the loss, down from 17 percent of frauds and 44 percent of loss previously.

Snapshot of fraud in Australia

Snapshot of fraud in Australia

Australian Fraud Barometer

© 2020 KPMG, an Australian partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”) is a Swiss entity. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.

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