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Business advisors RSM UK has revealed West Midlands as a hotspot for employee fraud. The region has witnessed a 65% increase in scams, costing businesses roughly £8 million in 2022.
A variety of crimes are currently under investigation, ranging from workforce directing payments to payment accounts and procurement scams to corruption, bribery, travel and subsistence fraud.
According to data obtained by police, 94 cases of corporate employee scams in the West Midlands were reported to the cybercrime body Action Fraud in 2022. Businesses lost approximately £7.8 million in 2022, three times more than the amount lost (£2.34 million) in 2021. On the other hand, RSM stated that the UK had witnessed a significant number of employee scams, with 885 cases reported in 2022. This is five times higher than the preceding year, resulting in an average loss of £227 million.
According to the Associate Director of Fraud Risk Services in Birmingham at RSM UK Erin Sims, the West Midlands has witnessed a significant rise in the number of employee scams and the amount stolen outside of London.
The West Midlands holds the second largest police force within the UK, reporting fraud as the fifth most frequently reported crime in the region. However, the Full-time Equivalent (FTE) professionals in the Economic Crime Unit, tasked to detect fraudulent activities, comprise around 1% of the total police force.
RSM UK urges businesses to have a clear plan that helps prevent workers from perpetrating crime, including training to help them detect and report scams. Moreover, they are encouraged to run background checks when they hire any new staff to mitigate the risk of scams in future.