E-crime costs UK retailers £200m a year

Internet crime is the biggest emerging threat to the UK’s retail sector, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) claimed today.

This type of criminal activity is a growing threat to retailers as more and more Britons choose to shop online and through their mobile devices.

The BRC’s first e-crime study, which assesses the make-up and scale of e-crime, estimates that the total cost of e-crime to retailers in 2011-12 was at least GBP205.4m.

The figure includes GBP77.3m in losses from crimes such as personal identification-related fraud, refund fraud and phishing, as well as crime-prevention costs and legitimate business lost as a result of such measures – for example honest customers being deterred from continuing with an online purchase by additional online security measures.

Furthermore, the retail trade association asserts that e-crime is twice as costly as overall retail crime, in proportion to the total value of sales. It represents 0.75% of the GBP28bn of online retail sales in 2011, while the GBP1.4bn cost of retail crime as a whole is 0.36% of the GBP303bn value of all retail sales.

The UK is seen as a world leader in online retailing, with the biggest Internet spend per-capita of any country and 11% of global Internet retail sales, but the BRC said today that the government and law enforcers need to take e-crime more seriously if the sector is to maximise its contribution to economic growth.

It claimed that many retailers lack confidence in the official response to e-crime, with 60% of those questioned saying it was unlikely they would report any more than 10% of e-crimes to police.

Specifically, the BRC is calling for consistency on reporting, recording and investigating e-crime across the country and for more police resources to be directed towards e-crime.

Retailers who took part in the BRC’s first e-crime study, which was carried out in April and May 2012, included supermarkets, department stores, fashion, health and beauty stores and mixed retail.