Charities encouraged to protect themselves against online fraud

Technology is being exploited to perpetrate frauds, the report says

Austin Clark | 10th Jan 18

Charities and charitable Trusts are believed to have lost £2.3bn to fraud in the 12 months to November 2017, according to the latest Annual Fraud Indicator.

The Annual Fraud Indicator (AFI) 2017 highlights the colossal cost of fraud to the UK economy, with fraud costing the UK a massive £190bn – that’s equal to around £10,000 per family.

The report shows a worrying trend for charities – in the 2016 report, fraud in registered charities was estimated at just under £1.9bn.

Technology is being exploited to perpetrate frauds across all sectors, the report says, with online banking fraud having grown by 226% and telephone banking fraud by 178% over the period.

David McNeill, director of digital at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), told Third Force News that organisations need to be prepared to respond to new forms of fraud.

“Most organisations will have good procedures to minimise the risks of traditional forms of fraud and theft,” he said. “However, cybercrime is the fastest growing threat to organisations across sectors.

“The past year has seen several charities lose significant sums of money to online and telephone scams, as well others who have had their activity disrupted by ransomware. Staff and trustees must be aware of these new risks and take steps to protect themselves from increasingly sophisticated forms of fraud.”

Last year, a number of charities made the headlines after losing sizable sums of money to fraud. Highland Hospice was the victim of a £500,000 vishing and spoofing fraud, while Bury Hospice fell foul of a fraud involving an online virus check that resulted in the charity losing £235,000.

Action Fraud has published information on the measures that can be taken to protect against online fraud.