Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : PwC comments on the ONS fraud data for the year ending March 2023 [July 2023]

The press release issued by PWC on 20 July 2023.

Estimates from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) for the year ending March 2023 showed that there were 3.5 million fraud offences. This was not a significant change compared with the pre-coronavirus pandemic year ending March 2020 (3.7 million offences), but represents a significant increase on pre pandemic levels.

Alex West, Director in PwC’s Restructuring and Forensics team, comments:

“Today’s data shows there were 3.5 million fraud offences for the year ending March 2023, highlighting that fraud continues to be a major societal challenge in the UK as it is elsewhere in the world. Behind the numbers are traumatised victims, individuals that have lost life changing sums of money and businesses struggling to recover from fraud losses.

“Fraud threats are constantly mutating and the nature of fraud 10 years ago is very different from that of today. The statistics show that fraudsters continue to be highly adept at exploiting human and business vulnerabilities. Fraudsters are increasingly using new technologies such as GenAI and deep fakes to scam victims and we all need to better understand fraud threats and improve our personal level of defence. Businesses need to be equally quick at spotting potential fraud vulnerabilities and in their use of technologies like AI to improve fraud prevention and detection. 

“Statistics continue to be driven by organised crime groups embracing fraud as a lucrative and relatively low risk form of crime. We expect the cost of living crisis to increase pressures on businesses and individuals, incentivising people to take risks, which is likely to lead to an increase in fraud in the coming years, a trend that already seems to be evident in money mule levels.

“Encouragingly, levels of focus on counter-fraud activity, across the public and private sector alike, are the highest we’ve ever seen. Public attention on fraud is driving many organisations to reevaluate their defences – something every organisation should do on a regular basis. The government’s National Fraud Strategy and other upcoming legal and regulatory changes have also brought new focus and resources to counter-fraud measures. We also see cross-sector collaboration increasing, which will be key to driving the whole-society response that will be needed to tackle fraud. While there is clearly a need for further activity to push down fraud rates, change is happening in the right direction.