Fraud cases hit record levels in 2010


There were more UK fraud cases in 2010 than ever before and technology was at the centre of many of them, new research has shown.

A total of 314 incidents were reported, up 16 per cent on 2009, KPMG has discovered.

Added up, the worth of the cases came to 1.374 billion, of which criminals tried to steal 571 million from public funds.

Indeed, one of the most significant cases was worth 103 million and centred on a man who claimed a notable number of fraudulent bids for tax breaks on research into green technologies.

"Government agencies, like commercial businesses, have been increasingly vulnerable to the threat of fraud," said Hitesh Patel, KPMG forensic partner.

"In a year of austerity measures implemented by Government, tax increases, the threat of rising unemployment, and significant structural change it is hardly surprising that the long fingers of the fraudster have reached into the public purse."

iTunes incidents

Another major problem in 2010 was the continued use of new technology for fraudulent means.

In one case, a DJ was accused of plotting a credit card scam on Apple's iTunes website.

It was claimed a man and 10 others had placed 20 songs on the Apple and Amazon sites, using around 1,500 stolen credit cards to purchase the tunes.

They then claimed back almost 469,000 in royalties.

"The online universe has opened up a whole new world for innovative fraudsters," Patel added.

"While credit card and data theft remain common tools from which they are able to profit, the need for ever more effective techniques to combat fraud grow greater by the day. Unfortunately anti-fraud measures do not always keep pace with professional criminal activity."

Last week, Visa announced an update of its ant-fraud technology, claiming the enhanced speed and detection capabilities could help save the financial behemoth $1.5 billion (968 million) in fraud losses.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.