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Fraudsters may thrive in recovery, warns report

5 July 2010

Britain will be vulnerable to cyber-crime, green fraud and public sector fraud as it emerges from recession, PrivewaterhouseCoopers has warned.

New research from the accountancy firm says pay freezes and reduced career mobility have made many workers anxious about maintaining their living standards and their career prospects, while cutbacks in administration and compliance monitoring create new opportunities for fraud.

The three fraud "hotspots" which PwC believes will be a particular challenge in the coming year are:

Cyber crime and malware: The latest generation of malicious software pushes the boundaries of technical capability, with built in intelligence that makes detection and removal difficult. Rather than causing arbitrary mayhem, these activities are increasingly part of a structured development process by teams of organised criminals working together with funding in place.

Green fraud: Fraud can be perpetrated in new and developing markets using familiar techniques, such as carousel VAT fraud, as was the case in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in the first half of 2009. The global carbon market was last year valued at $125billion.

The public sector: Nearly half (46%) of UK public sector respondents to PwC’s recent Global Economic Crime Survey reported an increase of economic crime incidents in the last year. Public sector organisations will be particularly vulnerable to fraud this year as the full impact of the downturn shifts from the private to the public sector.