Online crime costs retailers £205.4 million each year

It’s easy to think online crime is only felt by big organisations such as banks, but a new study shows that general retailers are also being hit by cybercriminals.


The term ‘retail crime’ conjures images of shoplifters shoving things up their sleeves in stores but according the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) first ever e-crime study, online fraud cost retailers a collective £205.4 million in 2011-12.


That figure includes £77.3 million in lost goods and funds as well as the cost of prevention and cure measures.


The study found that online crime is now twice as costly as overall retail crime and represents 0.75 per cent of the total number of online retail sales.


The most costly type of e-crime for retailers is personal identification fraud, producing losses of £20 million in 2011-12. Card fraud was second at £15 million, while refund frauds set the industry back by £1.2 million.


After the USA, retailers in the UK are the second most targeted by cybercriminals in the world.


The BRC said that the many online retailers feel that the government and law authorities do not take online crime seriously enough at present and more action needs to be taken.


British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson, said: “The rapid growth of e-commerce in the UK shows it offers great benefits for customers but also new opportunities for criminals.


“Online retailing has the potential for huge future commercial expansion but government and police need to take e-crime more seriously if the sector is to maximise its contribution to national economic growth.


“Retailers are investing significantly to protect customers and reduce the costs of e-crime but law makers and enforcers need to show a similarly strong commitment.


“This first comprehensive survey assessing the make-up and scale of e-crime shows where efforts need to be directed.”


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