Scotland records huge rise in high-value fraud
High-value fraud in Scotland has increased by nearly 90% in a year, according to new research.
The value leapt from £16.2 million in 2017 to £30.4 million in 2018, equivalent to 88%, despite the number of reports falling from 50 to 43.
Only incidents that were more than £50,000 were included by the researchers.
Accountants and business advisers BDO found the rise was largely due to incidents in the public administration sector.
This rose 565.3% in value, up from £2.9 million in 2017 to £19.5 million in 2018.
Sat Plaha, partner at BDO, said: “The increase in sophisticated high-value fraud in Scotland is a concerning trend.
“This is all the more alarming when our experience suggests that as few as one in 50 cases of fraud in the UK are likely to be reported so the figures only shine a spotlight on the visible part of a much wider problem.
“It is essential that businesses and government alike continue to deploy a proactive risk-based approach to protect themselves from harm’s way.
“Education and retraining of the workforce in how to detect fraud is vital.”
The costliest reported fraud that took place in Scotland last year was part of a probe by HM Revenue and Customs into a suspected £12 million VAT fraud.
In 2018, the country recorded £14.9m of highly-organised tax fraud cases with employee fraud and third-party fraud also rising in value, up 62.8% and 136.5% respectively.
The total value UK-wide more than halved in 2018.
Following a 15-year high in 2017, reports fell from a value of £2.1 billion to £746.3 million.
This is the lowest level since 2014, when the value fell to £720.3 million.
Experts at BDO say the “true” cost to the UK could be as high as £37.5 billion.
London and the south-east remain the biggest hot spots for fraud in 2018, accounting for more than 60% of all records in the UK.