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Over £85bn is lost to fraud in the UK each year according to research by PKF and the University of Portsmouth, which also indicates that losses can rise by a third during recession.


Their study, The Financial Cost of Fraud 2011, suggests that on average, 6.1% of expenditure across the private and public sectors is lost to fraudulent activities in areas such as payroll, procurement, insurance, social security and healthcare.


The survey analysed expenditure of over £2.1 trillion during 2008 and 2009, the most recent years for which accurate and verifiable data are available. The findings show that average fraud losses increased by 33% during the recession and its aftermath compared with the period 1997 – 2007.


Jim Gee, director of counter fraud services at PKF and chair of the Centre of counter Fraud Studies at University of Portsmouth who co-authored the report said: ‘Reported fraud and forgery offences rose by over 30% during the recession of the early 1990s, and the findings from our study paint a very similar picture.’


‘The good news is that these losses can be reduced. Research shows that fraud can be cut by up to 40% within 12 months. Businesses and public sector organisations need to be proactive in their approach,’ Gee said.

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