Australia a hotbed of economic crime: PwC survey


Australia is now leading the world in metrics that organisations would prefer not to excel at: economic crime. But that is exactly the case, with 52 per cent of Australian organisations reporting that they have experienced economic crime in the last 24 months, compared to the global average of 36 per cent, according to the results of the latest survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

In fact, the Australian edition of PwC’s 2016 Global Economic Crime Survey reveals that cybercrime is now the number one economic crime in Australia, followed by asset misappropriation and then procurement fraud.

Australian organisations reported experiencing cybercrime at double the global rate, with 65 per cent experiencing cybercrime in the last 24 months compared to the global average of 32 per cent. More than 10 per cent of Australian organisations reported losing more than AUD $1million.

Furthermore, only 7 per cent of Australian organisations say they are using sophisticated internal monitoring approaches such as data or predictive analytics to detect and prevent economic crime.

“I think it’s fair to say we’re a legitimate economic crime hotspot – it’s not a good picture,” said PwC partner and forensic services leader, Malcolm Shackell. “The types of economic crime most commonly experienced remains consistent with previous years, but we are dealing with an increasingly complex economic crime environment driven by cyber threats.”

“To buck this trend, we need to embed resilience,” said Shackell. ”This means moving away from reliance on reactive detection methods to more sophisticated and proactive preventative and detective tools and techniques, like we are seeing globally.”

The survey indicates that Australian organisations are also dealing with more incidents of economic crime, with 30 per cent reporting they have experienced more than 100 incidents. Only nine per cent of global respondents reported experiencing that level of incidents.

Despite the fact that 80 per cent identified an increase in their perception of the risks of cybercrime and almost 60 per cent expected to experience cybercrime in the next two years, only 42 per cent of Australian organisations have a fully operational incident response plan and only 40 per cent described their first responders as fully trained.

Australian organisations also experienced more incidents of money laundering than other countries around the world over the last 24 months at 26 per cent, compared to 11 per cent globally and 9 per cent for the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, 31 per cent of Australian organisations expect to experience bribery and corruption in the next two years.

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