May 3 • 2023

UK Report on Fraud Progress and the Economic Crime Plan

Cybercrime is low risk, low investment, and high return. Not surprisingly, illegal financial gain is one of the biggest reasons for cyber-attacks. The result is a predicted USD 10 Trillion of damages by 2025. Our vision is to change that.

Written by Rob Tharle, Head of Product 

In the last month we’ve had two linked publications, firstly the Progress Combating Fraud report by the House of Common Public Accounts committee (PAC) and then the a few weeks later the governments Economic Crime Plan. However, what is still missing is the governments long awaited fraud strategy, especially as fraud has been classed as a national security threat

What are the key elements of these two publications?  

The UK House of Commons Committee of Public accounts recently published its Progress combating fraud report. Firstly, let’s start with the PAC report which highlights the scope of the UK fraud issues: 

It is fair to say the report, makes it very clear more can and should be done in the UK. The committees’ key points and recommendations are: 

A couple of weeks later, we see, what is to an extend a response to this report, with the Economic Crime Plan 2.  It starts with a huge statistic, that the level of laundered funds could be as high as £100bn in the UK each year! 

The key points of the plan are: 

These elements are to be achieved by: 

In addition to this plan, the government has also published a new law, making it an offence, with an unlimited fine, for larger corporates to fail to prevent fraud at their firm. This is to cover elements such as where employees make false statements or false representation, among others, to benefit themselves. It is hoped this will add incentives to firms to increase controls and oversight to prevent abuse.  

Do these elements go far enough to solve the issues outlined in part 1 of this blog and the PACs recommendations? 

Whilst the Economic Crime Plan is a welcome step forward, there are issues here, namely, the lack of the promised Fraud Strategy and inadequate funding levels to make a meaningful difference. Likewise, the new failure to prevent fraud law should help, it does not over abuse of platforms by third parties. 

When the Fraud Strategy is published, this may help to provide the much needed incentives throughout the fraud chain.  However, without serious additional funding it is hard to see how the law enforcement and international elements mentioned by the PAC can be meaningfully achieved.  

As I wrote in part 1, there are many more issues that just the banking part of the fraud chain, where additional incentives are required. 

When considering the size of fraud out of all UK crimes, the impact on consumers, businesses and the government, along with the negative nature of the how fraud and other proceeds of crimes are used, it is clear more still needs to be done.