UK online retail fraud on the increase

The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium showed that retail industry fraud was up on 2014; it was reported that cyber attacks pose a critical threat to their business.

According to the report, crime cost the UK retail industry an additional £603m in the 2013-14 financial year, 18 per cent higher than the previous 12 months. The BRC said shoplifting, cyber-crime and fraud is now at its highest since its current recording system began in 2004.

The value of goods, money or services stolen from stores is now worth an average of £241 per incident, up from the previous years £177.

Although the volume of theft offences fell 4%, the BRC’s annual crime survey said that gangs are targeting more expensive items and stealing in bulk.

The BRC report said that the “upward trend in the value of these offences is thought to be due to the continued impact of organised gangs stealing in volume and targeting higher value items to sell on”.

Items most frequently targeted included electrical goods, designer clothes, power tools and cosmetics.

The report found:

  • there were 698,184 offences resulting in loss or damage to property in 2013-14, but said the true figure is more like 3 million
  • customer theft made up the bulk of the criminal activity, accounting for 81 per cent of all incidents
  • retailers reported a total of 135,814 incidents of fraud, up 12 per cent on the previous financial year

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “Criminal activity against UK retailers continues to have wide-ranging consequences for businesses, employees and the vast majority of honest shoppers. It is clear that retailers are facing an increasingly sophisticated criminal.”