Businesses should be on alert for fraud after steep rise in HMRC phishing emails
With HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) reporting a 300% increase in fraudulent ‘phishing’ emails over the past year, PKF Accountants & business advisers warns that it is more important than ever for businesses to protect themselves against fraud.
Jim Gee, Director of Counter Fraud Services at PKF, comments: “The fact that almost 24,000 such emails were reported to HMRC in August alone – an increase of nearly 300 per cent compared to the same month last year – provides a sobering view of what happens when there is economic uncertainty."
“Previous recessions show that as economic activity declines reported fraud and forgery increase. Reported fraud and forgery offences rose by over 30% during the recession of the early 1990s, and the data that we’re seeing at the moment suggest that the impact this time around could be even more significant."
“The most extensive global research into the cost of fraud – undertaken by PKF and the University of Portsmouth in 2009 - showed that losses to fraud averaged around 4.6% of an organisation’s expenditure. Fraud can therefore have a major impact on a business’ financial performance."
“In the current climate, with the possibility of a double dip recession, I advise organisations to review and strengthen their protection against fraud. With the HMRC data showing this sort of trend, a small investment in better protection might prove to be particularly good value.”