It has been widely reported that that fraud is costing the global economy £3.89 trillion, with losses rising by 56% in the past decade.  In the UK alone, fraud is the mostly commonly experienced crime in the UK and is estimated to be costing businesses and individuals £130 billion each year. 

Online fraud and cybercrime are the most common crimes in the UK and are increasing significantly. They are viewed by fraudsters as low-risk crimes that can deliver huge payoffs. Costs are steep and can range from compromised intellectual property, data breaches involving personal and business information, to damaged reputations and lost opportunities. 

Trends in cybercrime in 2020 and beyond

  1. Increasingly sophisticated developments and investments in technologies such as employing cloud technology, artificial intelligence (AI), software-as-a-service and encryption will continue to make the threats of cybercrime greater and more sophisticated.
  2. Businesses and high-net-worth individuals will continue to be targeted by fraudsters, who will be attracted by their ability to participate in larger financial transactions, meaning greater potential profits for fraudsters.
  3. Funds obtained through cyber crime will continue to be laundered using online technologies and platforms which create greater obstacles for those engaged in tracing these funds; albeit the end goal for all cybercriminals is to convert all online funds into cash.  For instance, relatively easy access to cash for SME businesses via FIntech platforms and the lack visibility of actual borrowers allow multiple loans to be applied for from virtual addresses and bogus companies. The end goal for all cybercriminals, however, is unlikely to change, with will be to convert all online funds into cash.
  4. Cybercrime is committed by fraudsters in remote parts of the world and the chance of recovery against such groups is extremely low as such we will continue to see increasingly larger number of asset tracing cases where the money has been moved abroad and used to purchase assets in via offshore structures in countries where legal enforcement and recoveries are difficult, albeit increased regulation and global cooperation provide us with greater legal avenues for recovery.
  5. Fraudsters will continue targeting vulnerable people and less tech-savvy old age pensioners who have access to the internet.  This target audience are high risk and the impact on such people can be devastating. 

Top tips for protecting yourself from cybercrime:

  • Use strong passwords
  • Secure your computer and mobile device(s)
  • Block spyware attacks
  • Be social media-savvy
  • Protect your data
  • Secure your wireless network
  • Protect your e-identity
  • Always think before you click on a link or file of unknown origin

Mike Wright is an investigator and risk management professional; he carries out a range of intelligence and investigative services, including fraud investigations and compliance reviews. He has specialist experience in offering litigation support services to legal professionals.