Reported fraud jumps 31.5 per cent in spate of high-value cases

The total value of reported fraud in 2016 grew by 31.5 per cent to £2 billion, a new study has revealed.

The research, which looked at all reported fraud cases over £50,000 in the UK, found that despite the number of reported cases falling from 519 in 2015 to 504 in 2016, the value of fraud rose to an average of £3.9 million per reported case.

Public administration took the brunt of the crime, recording a staggering £1.4 billion loss to fraud alone.

Researchers say that this rose by 204.7 per cent from the year previous, due in part to a single £1 billion “VAT carousel” fraud. More so, the number of recorded cases rose from 114 cases in 2015 to 150 cases in 2016.

But in an encouraging turnaround, the value of reported fraud in financial services fell more than 62.1 per cent, from £567.2 million 2015 to 214.9 million in 2016. Likewise, the number of reported cases fell from 70 cases in 2015 to just 58 in 2016.

Experts suggest that increased public and regulatory scrutiny may have deferred fraud elsewhere.

Regionally, fraudsters target London and the south east in almost a third (31.6 per cent) of all cases, recording 159 cases in 2016. The North West follows up with 75 (14.5 per cent) reported cases, and the West Midlands with 53 cases (10.5 per cent).

Individuals, in particular the elderly and vulnerable, continue to be targeted, making up 30.4 per cent of all reported cases.