Economic crime rises globally, all business sectors, regions suffer from impact: PwC

Written by Pupul Dutta | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 19 2014, 22:51pm hrs
Indian EconomyWhile companies are still battling with slowdown, economic crime against businesses continues to rise around the world. (AP)
While companies are still battling with slowdown, economic crime against businesses continues to rise around the world. According to PwC's Global Economic Crime Survey, theft remains the most common form of economic crime, reported by 69% of respondents. It is followed by procurement fraud, 29%, bribery and corruption, 27%, cybercrime, 24%, and accounting fraud, 22%. Other reported crimes include human resources fraud, money laundering, intellectual property or data theft, mortgage fraud and tax fraud.

Among crime victims, a total of 20% place the financial impact of economic crime on their organisation at more than $1 million; and 2% of victims representing 30 organisations -- put the impact at more than $100 million each.

Like a stubborn virus, economic crime persists despite ongoing efforts to combat it. No organisation of any size anywhere in the world is immune to the impact of fraud and other crimes, said Steven Skalak, PwC Forensic Services partner and lead editor of the survey. Those committing economic crime succeed by adapting to shifting global conditions like reliance on technology and the expansion of emerging economies.

Dinesh Anand, National Leader, Forensic Service, PwC India said, Economic crime remains to be a big challenge for organisations all over the globe. With changing economic dynamics, especially of wealth moving towards east and sophisticated advancements in technology, organisations will have to pay special heed to anti-fraud and anti-corruption programmes as well as robust cyber security programmes. Notably our survey has also seen economic crimes like money laundering, procurement fraud and HR fraud making place in the top 10 economic crimes suffered by organisations.

The survey identified eight emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Turkey, Mexico and Indonesia where 40% of total respondents said they have experienced economic crime, reflecting in part a shift in wealth to those countries.

By industry, economic crime is most common in the financial services, retail and consumer and communications sectors. Nearly 50% of respondents in each said they have been crime victims. Financial services organisations are victims of high levels of cybercrime and money laundering, while retail and consumer and communications companies have suffered from most from theft. Hospitality and leisure, and government, both 41%, also report high crime levels.