The BRC’s annual Retail Crime Survey reveals that 53 per cent of retail fraud is now cyber-enabled, and violence and abuse against staff has risen by 40 per cent in the past year.
The BRC’s Retail Crime Survey has today laid bare a growing new frontier of retail crime, driven by rising cyber-enabled incidents. It also reports a 40 per cent increase in violence and other forms of abuse against retail workers in the past year.
The findings reveal that ever more sophisticated forms of crime are being perpetrated against retailers and their customers. Examples of cyber-enabled crimes being committed include phishing, theft of consumer data, doxing and social engineering, as well as a host of other increasingly elaborate scams.
The BRC’s report highlights concerns among retailers that existing deterrence is not effective enough, and a growing sense among those working in the retail industry that offenders are able to act with impunity.
The overall number of retail crimes committed has risen to 3.6 million, with the direct financial cost of crime to the retail industry reaching £660m in 2015-16.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the BRC, said:
“These figures reflect a deeply concerning trend. Attacks on retail workers are intolerable, as are attempts to defraud customers. A significant aspect of the cyber security challenge for retailers is the attractiveness of customer data from the point of view of criminals, many of whom operate outside UK borders but can nevertheless gain relatively easy access to UK digital networks.
“Retailers are doing everything possible to ensure that staff members and customers are safe and protected. But this rising tide should be stemmed through even stronger cooperation between industry, the government, law enforcement and the private security industry. There is work to do to further improve collaboration between the UK retail industry and its partners, and raise standards of security and policing of these threats across the country.”
(The BRC Retail Crime Survey sample covered 37 percent per cent of the retail industry by turnover and 35 percent by staff, accounting for 1.1 million employees.)