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Fraud is a National Security Risk

26 January 2021

Fraud is a National Security Risk

Cifas welcomes the findings of research conducted by RUSI, the independent defence and security think tank, in their recent report ‘The Silent Threat: The Impact of Fraud on UK National Security’. RUSI’s research clearly evidences the strong links between fraud and organised crime – a connection often assumed, but never before proven. This report reveals that the harm caused by fraud to the UK population, economy and public purse represents a national security risk and makes a compelling case for greater prioritisation of fraud and the development of a national strategy to tackle it.

Evidencing the problem

Those of us working in fraud prevention and directly witnessing this level of criminal organisation and its impact on victims may be surprised these conclusions are not more commonly drawn. One key reason for this is that fraud and its impacts are not being fully documented or understood within Government and policing, which in return reduces the prioritisation of fraud. This results in fewer criminal investigations and reduced opportunities to map the links between fraud and organised crime groups. Consequently, the cycle of insufficient evidence and insufficient action is perpetuated. RUSI’s report is a major step towards breaking that cycle by collating clear evidence of the threat to national security.

The report also puts the spotlight on the poor response to fraud against businesses, which undermines the UK’s critical financial infrastructure and the reputation of the UK as a place to do business. This is in addition to the harm these frauds cause the public through abuse of their personal information, the loss of businesses and jobs, and the facilitation and funding of other serious crime types – including terrorism. There is therefore both a practical and moral imperative to end the treatment of fraud against business as the poor relation when it comes to prioritising action on fraud.

Taking action, now

In light of the findings of this report, it is vital that Government and law enforcement not only commit to prioritising fraud against individuals and businesses, but also to improving the effectiveness of their response through the reciprocal sharing of data, intelligence and learning with both public and private sector partners. Criminals don’t work in silos, but they will focus their attacks on those organisations that choose to do so, which hurts us all.

It is within the power of all organisations to help improve the response to fraud, and to take that step today. An excellent example of this comes in the increasing number of Local Authorities joining Cifas, contributing to a fraud prevention community which spans public, private and third sectors, to more effectively prevent and detect fraud. We are stronger, more informed and better protected together than we are apart.

For further information on how Cifas membership can help your organisation tackle this threat, please contact

You can access RUSI’s report, ‘The Silent Threat: The Impact of Fraud on UK National Security’, here.

Posted by: Wayne Bath

Wayne Bath is the Head of Strategy and Policy at Cifas


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Posted by: Wayne Bath

Wayne Bath is the Head of Strategy and Policy at Cifas