Australia is emerging as a global cybercrime and money laundering hot spot

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Corporate Australia reports seeing more local economic crime than the rest of the world.

More than half (52%) of the companies surveyed by PwC for a major study experienced economic crime in the last two years compared to the global average of 36%.

Cybercrime is now the number one economic crime in Australia followed by asset misappropriation and then procurement fraud, according to the Australian edition of PwC’s 2016 Global Economic Crime Survey.

Local companies also see more money laundering than their global peers with 26% reporting incidents over the last two years compared to 11% globally and 9% for the rest of the Asia Pacific region.

“I think it’s fair to say we’re a legitimate economic crime hotspot — it’s not a good picture,” says PwC partner and forensic services leader Malcolm Shackell.

“The high rate of economic crime exposed in part reflects our serious approach to reporting but given we are lagging on early detection mechanisms, it reflects our reliance on doing what we have always done.”

Here’s how Australia compares to the rest of the world:

Source: PwC

Cybercrime has moved from being statistically insignificant over the last six years of the survey to being the number one economic crime in Australia.

The PwC survey found that of Australian respondents:

  • more than one in 10 reported financial losses of over AUD$1 million.
  • 80% identified an increase in their perception of the risks of cybercrime.
  • almost six in 10 expected to experience cybercrime in the next two years.

Australian respondents say they are more likely to rely on being told about a suspected crime than their global peers.

There is a heavy reliance placed on internal tip-offs and whistleblower disclosures.

According to PwC, this is what the average fraudster looks like in Australia:

Source: PwC

Australia continues to slide in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, now ranking outside the top 10.

The Senate Economics References Committee is due to publish in July its findings on foreign bribery. This report is expected to address the effectiveness of existing federal legislation.

The PwC report surveyed 6,000 people. Of those, 20% were from the Asia Pacific.

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