The latest results from the KPMG Fraud Barometer have just been published and provides an analysis of the data for 2023.

The bi-annual Barometer identifies the latest fraud trends and patterns affecting the UK economy which helps businesses remain alert to new threats and respond to any fraud risks in an appropriate and proactive manner.

  • Volume of fraud cases outside of the London region increase from 172 in 2022 to 183 in 2023.
  • In terms of fraud value outside of the London region, the North West saw the biggest increase in value of fraud cases, rising from £24.7 million in 2022 to £122.1 million in 2023
  • The London region continues to have the highest volume and value of alleged fraud cases reaching UK Crown Courts in 2023, albeit fraud volumes in London have decreased slightly from 49 to 43.

Figures showed that reported fraud outside the London region saw the biggest increase in fraud volume from 172 in 2022 to 183 in 2023. Fraud volumes either increased or remained the same as prior year for all regions outside of London, with the exception of Scotland which saw a slight decrease in fraud volumes from 24 to 21 cases.

By contrast, reported fraud values with a value of £100k and above, outside of the London region, decreased by 47 percent from almost £552 million in 2022, to £291.5 million in 2023. Yorkshire and the Midlands in particular saw the biggest decreases in reported fraud values during 2023. Fraud values in Yorkshire and the Midlands decreased by 88 percent and 62 percent respectively in 2023. These decreases are largely driven by no super cases being reported in 2023 across these regions, compared with 2 super cases in 2022, i.e. cases with a value of £50 million or more. The highest value cases in the Yorkshire and Midlands regions were £20 million and £30 million respectively in 2023.

Fraud values in the London region increased to £701.4 million across 43 cases, up significantly from £577.5 million across 49 cases in 2022. This is largely driven by a single super case with a value of approximately £416 million involving tax fraud.

Across the UK, the North West region had the second highest value of fraud cases with £122.1 million. By volume, the Midlands experienced the second highest amount with 37 cases reaching Crown Courts throughout 2023.

Commenting on the findings, Annette Barker, Head of KPMG Forensic in the UK,  said:

“Given that London is a major financial hub, it is understandable why the capital is the UK’s fraud hotspot. However, the high levels of fraud in the North West and the Midlands, which both have less financial activity than London, show that nowhere is safe from fraudsters.” 

Professional criminals elude the law in the London region

Although the London region continued to have the highest volume and value of fraud cases, in 2023, fewer professional criminals were brought to court compared to 2022. In 2023, 18 cases totalling £123.7 million were heard in the London region, compared to 24 cases worth £265.7 million in 2022.

The North West saw the biggest jump in terms of fraud value committed by professional criminals, up from £8.1 million in 2022 (nine cases) to £101 million in 2023 (11 cases). Whereas the North East and Yorkshire regions saw the biggest decrease in value from £269.5 million in 2022 (11 cases) to £8.6 million in 2023 (15 cases). Fraud values in the South East decreased slightly from £7.9 million in 2022 (nine cases) to almost £4 million in 2023 (seven cases).

Cases involving the Scottish public plummets

Nationally, the general public continues to be taken advantage of most frequently by perpetrators of fraud; in 2023, 78 cases of fraud were against a member of the public, for a total value of £58.3 million, compared with 74 in 2022, totalling £137.4 million. London bears the brunt of this crime, with 16 cases heard in 2023 worth £32.1 million.

The total volume and value of alleged fraud cases heard in the Scottish courts decreased in 2023 to 21 cases with an aggregate value of £11.9 million, down from 24 cases with an aggregate value of £17.4 million in 2022. Scotland saw a significant drop in terms of the value and volume of alleged fraud against the general public. In 2022, there were 11 cases to the value of £10.3 million, while in 2023, there were just five cases to the value of slightly over £1 million. Yet, a recent report by the Scottish Police Authority revealed a 68 percent increase in fraud cases over the last five years, so the threat to the general public is not going away.