The latest fraud barometer, published today by accountant KPMG, shows customers and employers were cheated out of more than £3.3 million during the first half of the year, compared with £940,000 during the same period in 2014.
That was in sharp contrast with the number of cases brought to court where a customer has defrauded a business – down from four in the first six months of 2014, to zero in 2015.
Among the cases recorded so far in 2015 was a financial adviser from Glasgow found guilty of stealing almost £500,000 from an elderly couple, and an assistant manager of a tax advisory firm who embezzled more than £726,000 from trusts set up to help charities.
However, despite the rise, the total value of fraud cases dealt with in the Scottish courts fell to £3.8 million in the first six months of 2015, down 39 per cent compared with the figure of £6.2m recorded a year ago.
Ken Milliken, head of forensic for KPMG in Scotland, said: “While the value of fraud across the UK is on the up, the picture in Scotland tells a more positive story. Measures in place to protect businesses from external fraud from customers appear to be working, with no cases of that type being heard in Scottish courts during the last six months. Furthermore, the value of fraud cases in Scotland saw a marked reduction during that period, with just one case being heard over the £1m mark.”
However, the firm’s report, which measures cases involving losses of more than £100,000, showed the number of fraud incidents below the £1m level grew by a third year-on-year.
Milliken said there must be “checks and balances” in place to prevent fraud, adding: “This is reflected by the cases coming to court in Scotland in 2015, whereby significant levels of fraud have been committed by staff …either swindling their customers or embezzling money from the firms they work for.”