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UK Retailers Hit by £100m Cyber Fraud Bill

Online fraud now accounts for over half of all fraud incidents in the UK retail sector as existing deterrents prove ineffective, according to new stats from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC’s 2016 Retail Crime Survey revealed that 53% of all fraud in the industry comes from cyber, amounting to estimated losses of £100 million.

The survey also broke out separate stats for cybercrime, including hacking and data breaches, which it said accounted for 5% of the total direct cost of crime to retail businesses – or around £36m.

Hackers are operating from outside the UK with impunity, accessing IT systems remotely, but the report also pointed to an uptick in insider threats for nearly a third (29%) of members.

It claimed of the cyber threat:

“It is clear in the meantime, however, that alongside the considerable amount of financial and societal harm being inflicted, there is little sign of the threat is abating. 91% of respondents reported that the overall number of cyber breaches is increasing (36%) or remaining the same (55%).”

Henry Rex, program manager for justice and emergency services at techUK, urged all retailers to explore new digital technologies to fight the rise in cybercrime and fraud.

“For example, the adoption of online crime reporting tools, allowing the swift reporting of offenses and online submission of digital evidence, could dramatically speed up the time it takes to process cases and increase the likelihood of guilty pleas. This would go some way to address the fact that 56% of retailers surveyed believed police performance to be poor,” he argued.

“Business, police forces and the tech industry must work together to ensure that all parties have the skills, tools and knowledge to prevent and detect crime.”

The BRC also used the report to call for “extra support from the public authorities.”

In March, the group is launching a Cyber Security Toolkit for Retailers designed to act as a practical guide to cybercrime and fraud prevention.

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