E-crime is the greatest emerging threat to retail and cost the sector £204.5 million in twelve months, according to a new study.
The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) first e-crime study, published today, reveals that e-crime is twice as costly as overall retail crime, representing 0.75 per cent of the £28 billion of online retail sales last year.
Personal identification-related frauds are the most costly of e-crimes, losing the sector a total of £20 million in 2011-12, with card fraud causing losses of £15 million over the same period.
Government intervention is required to resolve this growing problem, the BRC believes and its Director General Stephen Robertson added: “This first comprehensive survey assessing the make-up and scale of e-crime shows where efforts need to be directed.
“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.”
While measures are expected to be put in place to deter online thieves and fraudsters, the BRC pointed out that retailers also reported losses of £111.6 million in e-crime due to laborious crime-prevention steps.
Genuine customers may be put off from completing an online purchase as a result of additional online security measures.
Despite this myriad of potential problems, many retailers are unwilling to report e-crime as a result of lack of confidence in a suitable response from law enforcement, with 60 per cent of those questioned by the BRC admitting they were unlikely to report any more than ten per cent of e-crimes to the police.
“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,” Robertson warned.
“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.
“This will encourage retailers to report more offences and allow the police to better identify and combat new threats.”