Half of Singapore-based companies impacted by fraud lost at least US$1 million

The PwC’s Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey examines over 5000 responses from 99 countries with 92 respondents in Singapore.  The latest study marked a record high number of incidents experienced by Singapore-based companies within the past 24 months (42 per cent).  Despite the record number in Singapore, it still falls below the global rate of 47 per cent.

Customer fraud tops the list of all crimes experienced in Singapore (at 46 per cent), up from 32 per cent in 2018.  Businesses in Singapore and globally are aligned that customer fraud and cybercrime (41 per cent) are the most disruptive of all the crimes.

The report also highlights that larger companies in Singapore have reported higher occurrences of economic crime as compared to smaller companies.  24 per cent more companies with an annual revenue of over US$1 billion reported economic crimes or fraud (53 per cent) as compared to those under US$500 million (29 per cent).

Fraud hits companies from all angles; the perpetrator could be internal, external or in many instances there is collusion.  In the last two years, there was a clear shift in origin from internal to external.

51 per cent of Singapore respondents said external perpetrators were the main source of their economic crime incidents, a stark rise from 31 per cent in the 2018 study.  The proportion of internal perpetrators also fell from 54 per cent in 2018 to 28 per cent in 2020.

Fraud and economic crime rates remain at record highs, impacting companies in more ways than ever.  PwC’s biennial survey of business crime reports that these incidents are costing businesses.  Close to one in four respondents reflected that the direct financial losses they experienced amounted to US$50 million or more, with another 31 per cent saying it was between US$1 million to US$50 million.

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