While UK consumers enjoy the convenience and simplicity of shopping online and increasingly prefer to turn to the Internet for their orders, new figures from the Retail Fraud Study 2012 reveal that online fraud is also on the rise, Internet Retailing website reports.
The study, carried out by Martec International, reveals that online fraud now accounts for 4% of all retail fraud. Overall, retail fraud jumped 10% from last year, resulting in £3.4 billion having been lost by UK retailers in theft and fraud. The report claims that losses are nearly equal to retailers’ profits, stressing the importance of an efficient loss prevention strategy. Spending on loss prevention was found to have dropped to 0.7% of sales in 2012, from 0.8% last year.
According to Frances Riseley, Martec’s deputy managing director, the findings from the report indicate “surprisingly high” losses. While it is not unusual for theft and fraud to increase in times of recession, the scale at which this is happening in the UK is worrying, she adds.
Even more alarmingly, close to a quarter of losses comes from retailer’s own employees getting involved in criminal activity. This is a reason for retailers to focus on prevention and working with staff on establishing an anti-theft and anti-fraud culture, Riseley says.
In general, there is a tendency for a decrease in theft of high-priced products, but a growth in stealing food items is registered, with meat emerging as top choice for thieves.