Brian Sims
Editor

New campaign launched to highlight fraud risk for small businesses

THE FRAUD Advisory Panel and Barclays Bank have joined forces in launching a new campaign designed to assist and support businesses in the fight against fraud. The ‘Love Business, Hate Fraud’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the threat fraud poses to UK businesses.

Over the coming year, the campaign will provide simple and practical advice to businesses to help them spot and stop fraud more easily. A new social media campaign, a toolkit for business and a series of free online events will shine the spotlight on topical issues affecting businesses including buying goods and services safely, staff fraud, cyber crime and managing the risks.

A survey commissioned to support the launch of the campaign found that 44% of SMEs – and 49% of all businesses – agree on the assertion that fraud poses a major risk to them growing their business over the next two years.

For those SMEs that had experienced acts of criminality in the past two years, 18% said fraud was the most disruptive single crime they face ahead of cyber crime, burglary, robbery, theft and assault.

When asked what they thought was the biggest barrier to tackling fraud, 21% of SMEs mentioned a lack of understanding of how it could affect their business, while 20% said the cost of taking action is an issue.

The survey itself involved 1,009 businesses of which 754 were SMEs (with fewer than 250 employees). The study was carried out in April by independent market research firm Savanta on behalf of the Fraud Advisory Panel and Barclays.

With fraud now the UK’s most common form of crime, the concern is that long-term economic growth could be negatively impacted if preventative action is not taken right now.

Criminality must be challenged

Sir David Green CB QC, chair of the Fraud Advisory Panel, commented: “We all benefit when small businesses thrive, bringing growth and prosperity to our communities. We don’t want to see a single business fail because of fraud. On that basis, the harm this crime is causing must not go unchallenged.”

Green continued: “Our survey shows that, for many businesses, significant barriers to preventing fraud remain. Our campaign aims to overcome them. I urge everyone who cares about small businesses – their owners, staff, customers and suppliers – to support our campaign.”

Lee Fitzgerald, fraud risk strategy director at Barclays International, explained: “Barclays has an established track record for being an advocate of fraud education and awareness and, indeed, was the first UK bank to use television adverts to promote fraud awareness. We see our partnership with the Fraud Advisory Panel as an intrinsic element of our own ongoing manifesto to eradicate fraud and scams in the UK. We are here to help UK businesses of all sizes defend themselves from fraud and scams and fully support the Fraud Advisory Panel’s ‘Love Business, Hate Fraud’ campaign.”

*The ‘Love Business, Hate Fraud’ campaign will run for the next 12 months. To find out more about the campaign visit the dedicated website at www.lovebusiness-hatefraud.org.uk or join the conversation on Twitter (#LoveBusiness #HateFraud)

**The Fraud Advisory Panel is the voice of the counter-fraud profession and wholly committed to tackling fraud and financial crime. The organisation aims to strengthen fraud resilience by championing Best Practice in fraud prevention, detection, reporting, investigation and prosecution. It does so through education, advice and research. Additional detail is available online at www.fraudadvisorypanel.org

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