Value of fraud in Scotland dropped 77 per cent in 2017 to £16.2m

Kaley Crossthwaite

The value of fraud in Scotland dropped 76.8 per cent in 2017 to £16.2 million having recorded a four-year high in 2016 following a 283.1 per cent increase to £69.6m, according to new research published by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP.

BDO’s FraudTrack report, which examines fraud cases over £50,000 in the UK, reveals that despite the dramatic decrease in the total value of fraud in Scotland in 2017, the number of reported cases increased 38.9 per cent to 50, up from 36 in 2016. The highest number of fraud cases were committed in London & the South East (176 in 2017) while Scotland recorded the fourth highest number of frauds in the UK.

Nationally, the total value and volume of reported fraud in 2017 hit a 15-year high, with the value of fraud increasing 538 per cent to £2.11 billion.

BDO’s research reveals that the number of reported fraud cases across the UK has increased to 577 in 2017 from 212 cases in 2003 - an increase of 172 per cent. The average value of fraud has also risen by 133 per cent to £3.66m from just over £1.5m in 2003.

However, the pace of growth in the value of UK fraud has slowed, increasing by 6.5 per cent to £2.11bn. This is down significantly on the previous year’s increase where the value of reported fraud rose by 31.5 per cent to £1.99bn.

The greatest increases over the past 15 years occurred in real estate, rental and leasing fraud, with the total value shooting up to £276.5m from £1.08m, and retail trade fraud, which has grown from £15.5m to £337.3m. The value of educational services fraud also increased significantly between 2003 and 2017, albeit at a much lower level, rising from £6.98m to £31.53m.

Kaley Crossthwaite, partner and head of fraud and financial crime at BDO, said: “While a significant amount of fraud still goes unreported, our research suggests that people are becoming a lot more courageous in coming forward to report it and recovering their assets through the criminal or civil justice systems.

“There is now an expectation that fraud will be reported and investigated, both internally by corporations, charities, public sector entities and companies operating within regulated sectors. Stakeholders are seemingly no longer content to simply sweep fraud under the carpet in the hope that it will all go away.”