Fraud, other economic crimes still ‘high’ in the Philippines — survey

Ian Nicolas Cigaral - Philstar.com
Fraud, other economic crimes still âhighâ in the Philippines â survey
The biggest frauds in the Philippines are perpetrated by employees who have been working in the company for almost half their life, PwC data showed.

MANILA, Philippines — Economic crimes like fraud and corruption remain prevalent in the Philippines, with asset theft being the “most disruptive” to local businesses as the country lags behind its international peers in adopting technologies to combat such incidents, a new survey released Tuesday found.

Results of the 2020 Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey by consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) showed fraud incidents in the Philippines have not diminished in the past two years, although the rate decreased to 42% in 2020 from 54% in 2018.

For its latest survey, PwC polled 101 companies in the Philippines, increasing the baseline from 63 in 2018. The bi-annual study examined over 5,000 responses from 99 countries this year.

PwC said asset misappropriation remains the number one threat to local businesses since 2016, with at least 26% reporting they have experienced it for the last 24 months despite a global downtrend in such a crime as Philippine companies grapple to adopt useful technology to combat fraud due to hefty costs and insufficient digital skills.

Majority of these fraud incidents amount to an average loss of up to $100,000 per business in the past 24 months, and the long-term impact of such a crime to business could be as severe as loss of public trust, damage to the brand, low company morale and credit loss.

The biggest fraud in the Philippines are perpetrated by employees who have been working in the company for almost half their life, PwC data showed.

Meanwhile, bribery and corruption emerged as the second “most disruptive” economic crime in the Philippines, PwC said, adding that 14% of respondents said they have lost business opportunities to competitors paying bribes, up from 12% in 2018.

“This is concerning as businesses operating in the Philippines may be more likely to contemplate paying bribes as a feasible option to take in order to win business opportunities against competitors,” PwC said.

But the same survey revealed that Philippine companies are becoming more serious in fighting fraudsters, PwC said, with 26% of respondents saying they plan to beef up funding for anti-fraud programs over the next 24 months.

On the other hand, 35% intend to maintain such funds at their current levels.

“As businesses move to the digital space, so are the thieves. For hackers, data is the pot of gold,” PwC said.

“Data compromised can mean a lot of things–from requesting a fake fund transfer to infiltration of the entire system. It takes one attack to lose so much from hackers,” it added.



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