UK RETAILERS are losing hundreds of millions to cyber criminals every year, warns the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The BRC reckons that such crime is the biggest threat facing the retail sector, so is even worse than bored shop assistants, and is an evolving market that sees criminals adopting new methods all the time.
These new methods have cost retailers £205.4m it reckons, a figure that is made up of £77.3m in losses from fraud and a mix of prevention investment and other business costs.
The biggest cost to retailers comes from ID theft related fraud, and the BRC tots this up to £20m a year. Card fraud is second and caused £15m in losses between 2011 and 2012, and refund fraud is third, costing £1.2m in losses.
There are other causes of course, such as losses relating to phishing, but the BRC said that these are harder to quantify. It is sure that this is a big problem though, and finds that UK firms are second only to those in the US when it comes to being targeted.
The best way to deal with all this is to have a government that is tougher on criminals, says the BRC, and more willing to look at how and when crime happens.
"Online retailing has the potential for huge future commercial expansion but Government and police need to take e-crime more seriously if the sector is to maximise its contribution to national economic growth," said British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson.
"Retailers are investing significantly to protect customers and reduce the costs of e-crime but law makers and enforcers need to show a similarly strong commitment. Law enforcement and the Government need to work with us to develop a consistent, centralised method for reporting and investigating e-crime and resources must be directed to e-crime in line with the emerging threat." µ