There was a sharp decrease in number and value of reported frauds in Australia last year, according to KPMG Forensic’s latest Fraud Barometer. But KPMG is warning against any complacency, noting that the drop may be part of the natural ebb and flow of court cycles and investigative processes.
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.
The data showed an increasing proportion of fraud against government bodies, and increasing levels of cyber-related and identity theft risks.
Gary Gill, KPMG Forensic Partner, said: “This is the first time in several years we have seen a decline in reported fraud – and the scale is surprising. Reported frauds can and do fluctuate due to various factors, but lessons about being more vigilant and aware of fraud risks seem to have been taken on board by companies”.
“But 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”.
“Government organisations were a primary target and saw a large increase in their proportion of fraud losses, much of it perpetrated by outside parties. Fraudulent compensation and funding claims are a growing problem – so it is encouraging to note that nearly $10m of fraudulent claims for compensation were identified during this period, most by the CTP fraud taskforce, a multi-agency task force which was set up in 2016 to “deter, detect and prosecute fraudulent claims” and NSW Police’s Strike Force Ravens.
“Many of these frauds involved CTP claims that were made over fake, staged or minor accidents. It shows that concerted effort by the authorities to target fraud can be successful. For too long in Australia, white-collar crime was seemingly not regarded as a priority and that may now be changing.“
Associate Director, KPMG
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