Fraud Barometer

Fraud Barometer

The latest fraud trends and patterns affecting the UK economy.

The latest fraud trends and patterns affecting the UK economy.

Fraud Barometer - August 2021

The latest results from the KPMG Fraud Barometer have just been published and cover January to June 2021. The Fraud Barometer has been tracking fraud trends since the 1980s and the analysis of cases has continually identified fraud trends and patterns affecting the UK economy and the UK courts. The bi¬annual Barometer is based on media-reported frauds and helps businesses remain alert to new threats and respond to fraud risks in an appropriate and proactive manner. It considers major fraud cases where charges are in excess of £100,000.

Key highlights from the release:

  • The volume of alleged fraud cases heard in UK Courts nearly doubled to 151 cases in 2021 compared to 76 in the same period in 2020.
  • The value of alleged fraud cases dropped to just under £140 million in 2021, compared to just under £460 million in the same time in 2020.
  • Professional criminals targeted the public amid COVID-19 disruption to the tune of £37 million increased from £20.5 million in the same period in 2020.
  • Procurement fraud increased 400% by volume (from 3 cases in 2020 to 15 in 2021) and by value to £9.5 million from £2.6 million compared to the same time in 2020. 

The number of alleged fraud cases being heard in UK courts in the first half of 2021 has almost doubled compared to the same time last year, as UK Courts saw a continued recovery in the system following COVID-19 lockdowns.

The total value fell significantly (70%) year on year in the first half of 2021, standing at £139.1 million. 151 alleged fraud cases were heard in the first six months of the year, as courts used a mix of virtual and face-to-face sessions to catch up with the backlog created by COVID-19 restrictions.

Government figures stated in June 2021 that there were over 59,000 outstanding cases for Crown Courts and just under 400,000 for magistrates’ courts at the end of Q1 2021.



"Despite the Courts struggling with the impact of lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions, attempts to break through the backlog of fraud cases in the system are progressing. The legal system, like much of the world, has adapted quickly to adopt technology to help alleviate the huge numbers of cases that were put on hold last year when the pandemic first hit."


Roy Waligora, Partner, and Head of Investigations and Corporates Forensic, KPMG in the UK

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