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Global corporate fraud declines; insider fraud not so much

By Jim Barnett, CNN
October 16, 2012 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A survey of senior executives finds corporate fraud down sharply
  • In 2011, 75% of those surveyed reported incidents of fraud at their company
  • In 2012, only 61% reported incidents of fraud
  • The percentage of fraud that was committed by insiders grew, from 60% to 67%

(CNN) -- As corporate fraud falls around the world, the percentage of fraud committed by corporate insiders is climbing, a new survey reports.

The study, commissioned by risk consulting firm Kroll Advisory Solutions, found 67% of firms that had at least one incident of fraud in the past year laid the blame on insiders such as junior employees, senior managers and agents of the company.

That's up from 60% last year and 55% in 2010.

But the report said the proportion of companies reporting that they were affected by at least one incident of fraud in the past year dropped to 61% from 75% in 2011.

There's a downside to the decrease in fraud, however. The survey's numbers suggest companies are becoming more complacent. Respondents describing themselves as highly or moderately vulnerable to information theft declined from 50% in 2011 to just 30% this year.

While information attacks on customer data remain a big concern, the Kroll survey showed it's only one part of the hacker threat. Nearly half of the respondents said either company financial data or strategic data had been stolen.

"The survey tells the story of a changing fraud environment, with dangers ebbing and flowing in often unpredictable ways," Kroll officials said in an executive summary of the company's sixth annual report.

The survey polled more than 830 senior executives worldwide this summer; 52% of the participants represented companies with annual revenues above half a billion dollars.

The average cost to businesses due to theft declined from 2.1% of revenues to 0.9%.

"The results this year demonstrate that companies must turn their attention inward. In particular, firms need to make protection of confidential information and electronic data a top priority," said Robert Brenner, Kroll senior managing director, in a statement accompanying the report.

According to the survey, fraud was most prevalent in India, where 68% of companies reported at least one incident, followed by Indonesia, 65%; Russia, 61%; the United States, 60%; Mexico, 59%; and Canada, 47%.

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