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Global Levels of Fraud Reached an All-Time High in 2017

Businesses reported all-time high levels of fraud, cyber- and security incidents during 2017, according to a survey of businesses worldwide.

About 84% of companies surveyed worldwide experienced a fraud incident in 2017, according to the Kroll Annual Global Fraud & Risk Report.

The proportion of executives reporting that their companies fell victim to at least one instance of fraud over the past 12 months increased from 82% in last year’s survey. Levels of reported fraud have steadily risen every year since 2012, when the reported occurrence was just 61%.

An even greater percentage of executives surveyed (86%) said their companies had experienced a cyber-incident or information theft, loss or attack over the past 12 months, slightly up from 85% in 2016.  Seven in 10 respondents (70%) reported the occurrence of at least one security incident during the past year, compared to 68% in the previous survey.

The Kroll Report also revealed that respondents are experiencing a heightened sense of vulnerability to fraud, cyber- and security risks, with information-related risks now the current area of greatest concern. As criminals and other threat actors continue to find new ways to monetize confidential data, including personal data, data assets are becoming increasingly valuable and attractive targets. 

For the first time in the Kroll Report’s 10-year history, information theft, loss, or attack was the most prevalent type of fraud experienced, cited by 29% of respondents, up five percentage points from the previous year. This edged out theft of physical assets or stock, long the most common type of organizational loss, which this year was the second most frequently cited incident (27%).

Cyber-attacks represent one of the most persistent threats to confidential information. In fact, the reported level of occurrence for every type of cyber-incident included in the survey increased in the last 12 months.

“In a digitized world with growing levels of data creation, collection, and reliance for businesses, information assets have become increasingly valuable and exposed to threats,” said Jason Smolanoff, senior managing director and global cybersecurity practice leader for Kroll. “Exacerbating the challenge of safeguarding data is that criminals and other threat actors are continually developing new ways to monetize confidential information, including personal data.”

He added, “People instinctively think about data being targeted by cyber-attacks, but not all threats to information are confined to the digital realm. There is a convergence between physical and digital threats, with issues arising from equipment with sensitive data being stolen or lost, for example, or employees with access to highly sensitive information accidentally or intentionally causing a breach.”

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