08 March 2007
Britain loses £20 billion every year to fraud
Fraud in the public and private sector is costing Britons up £20 billion every year, according to a survey from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).
The £20 billion figure was reached by adding the £13.9 billion of fraud that the survey uncovered - including the cost of fighting fraudulent crime - to a further estimate of £6 million worth of fraud accruing from crime that goes unreported and tax evasion.
Over half of the total was found to be in the public sector where £6.5 billion was lost, chiefly through "carousel" fraud.
Meanwhile, business was found to be losing £4 billion a year, while individuals were cheated out of £2.75 million through scams such as pyramid investment schemes and bogus foreign lotteries.
Commenting on the figures Mike Bowron, commissioner of the City of London Police, said: "Lying to secure financial benefit is fast becoming endemic in British life.
"Fraud threatens to blur the boundaries between what we see as right and wrong. Unabated, fraud will undoubtedly change the way future generations view the world."
The £20 billion figure equates to an annual loss of £330 for every person in Britain.