This report, Tackling first-party fraud, released in conjounction with WPI Economics focues on how industry and government can reduce the cost of fraud to consumers and businesses. Fraud is a major issue for businesses, the public sector, and charities. In 2016, all types of fraud combined were estimated to cost the UK £193bn, with three quarters of this lost from the private sector.
This report focuses on a particular sub-set of frauds, first-party fraud: those that are committed by customers (i.e. not by employees or people using stolen or fake identities). As a conservative estimate, this fraud costs billions of pounds a year in direct losses and monitoring, detection, and prevention.
It also occurs across society. Original polling commissioned for this report asked respondents about ten types of fraud and found that one in seven (14%) British adults admitted to committing one or more types of first-party fraud. Perhaps even more concerning, there were some types of fraud that more than one in five Britons felt were ‘reasonable’ – suggesting a significant pool of people who may be willing to commit fraud in the future.
Our conversations with experts in academia and on the frontline of fraud prevention highlighted that there is no one type of fraudster, nor one journey to fraud. Some people will carefully pre-plan a fraud, others will simply respond to an opportunity, or even ‘chance their arm’. The extent to which fraud is committed by repeat or occasional offenders is also likely to vary significantly between types of fraud.