Insider Threats Surge 14% Annually as Cost-of-Living Crisis Bites

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Employee fraud grew significantly last year thanks to the opportunities afforded by remote working and the pressures of a cost-of-living crisis in the UK, according to Cifas.

The anti-fraud non-profit claimed that the number of individuals recorded in its cross-sector Insider Threat Database (ITD) increased 14% year-on-year (YoY) in 2023, with the most common reason being “dishonest action to obtain benefit by theft or deception” (49%).

Cifas said its member organizations reported that reduced supervision due to widespread remote working had provided greater opportunity to engage in dishonest behavior to supplement their income – such as holding a second job, or selling corporate devices and loyalty discounts via online marketplaces.

Other member concerns highlighted in the new 2024 Fraudscape report from Cifas included employees contracting out duties to third parties and theft of corporate data to support new employment.

Read more on insider threats: Over Half of UK Firms Concerned About Insider Threats

A plurality (38%) of employees in the ITD who engaged in dishonest conduct had been in their position for less than a year, up from 21% in 2022. However, 17% had been in employment for over a decade, and 80% of those recorded for bribery had also been working for more than 10 years.

“It is vital organizations continue to monitor throughout an entire employee lifecycle, as we’re still seeing filings for longer-serving personnel,” said Cifas insider threat manager, Tracey Carpenter.

“Therefore, efforts to increase staff awareness through counter-fraud prevention training and having a greater focus on staff wellbeing to support employees remain critical. Small changes can make a significant difference when mitigating the risk of insider threat and keeping workforces safe.”

Overall, filings to the Cifas National Fraud Database (NFD) fell by 9% YoY in 2023 – although there were significant increases in facility takeover (13%) and misuse of facility (5%) and asset conversion cases (55%). It should also be noted that NFD filings were still 4% above 2021 figures.

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