More than half of the cost associated with fraud of all kinds against retailers in the U.K. last year was conducted online, according to a new report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The BRC asked U.K. retailers about all the crime perpetrated against them in 2016 including all forms of customer and employee theft, robbery, criminal damage, violence and fraud and found the total financial cost amounted to £660 million ($826 million). Survey respondents estimated “internet enabled fraud” (card-not-present, ATO and other types of fraud conducted online) accounted for 15 percent of this total, or just about £100 million ($125 million). Cybercrime such as data breaches added another 5 percent of the total cost, or £36 million ($45 million). The BRC, instead of just looking at what merchants can do for themselves, is hoping to initiate more cooperation with and effectiveness from law enforcement regarding cybercrime and CNP fraud.
“This year’s survey highlights the growing problem of fraud and cybercrime, which in light of the acute threats facing retail companies now represent major security priorities for the BRC,” said Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC, in its 2016 Retail Crime Survey. “There is enormous scope for improvement around how the police work with retailers, and vice-versa, to tackle cybercrime. Of ongoing concern is that the U.K.’s fraud reporting system known as Action Fraud is not operating effectively. A policy debate is now urgently needed, perhaps within the context of the wider debate on the state of digital policing in the twenty-first century, around whether the structure and operation of Action Fraud is, or ever could be, ‘fit for purpose’.”