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Wed 4 Mar 2020 02:15 PM

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Middle East businesses see biggest rise in customer fraud, says PwC

PwC research shows fraud committed by customers tops the list of all crimes at 47%, up from 36% in 2018

Middle East businesses see biggest rise in customer fraud, says PwC

Fraud and economic crime rates remain at record highs in the Middle East, impacting companies in more ways than ever, according to PwC.

The auditing giant's Middle East’s biennial survey, which focuses on business crime reports, revealed that fraud committed by customers topped the list of all crimes experienced (at 47 percent), up from 36 percent in 2018.

Middle East businesses reported that customer fraud and procurement fraud are the most disruptive of all economic crimes.

Globally, all regions surveyed experienced customer fraud in the last two years, with the Middle East seeing the biggest increases.

The survey examined responses from eight countries in the Middle East, and PwC globally examined responses from 99 countries around the world.

PwC highlighted the importance of prevention and how investing in the right skillset and technology can create an advantage. 

More than half of organisations in the Middle East responded to economic crime by implementing and enhancing controls, and nearly three quarters of respondents conducted an investigation following an incident.

However, less than a third reported instances of economic crime to their board, but of the organisations who did, 68 percent ended up in a better place, PwC said.

Achraf El Zaim, PwC Middle East’s forensics leader, said: “With the rising rate of organisations falling victim to economic crime, a greater focus is needed to deploy the right talent and technologies to proactively build anti-fraud frameworks that allow businesses in the Middle East to identify fraud risks, respond quickly and ultimately emerge stronger.”

Mahmoud Al-Salah, financial crime leader, PwC Middle East, added: “The great thing is that we’re seeing a change in regulations such as the introduction of Open Banking and Faster Payments which will drive customer experience. With the advancement in payment methods however, we’re also seeing an emerging generation of criminals who are becoming increasingly tech savvy.

"Financial institutions need to take timely action to strengthen their fraud prevention and detection frameworks and leverage the next generation fraud monitoring capabilities and advanced data analytics in order to fight fraud and protect customers and the bottom line.”

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