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E-crime prevention costs retailers £127m

Retailers lost more through preventing e-crime than e-crime itself last year, with the combined cost setting back retailers more than £205m.

More than half of this figure - some £111.6m - was the result of genuine business being rejected because of prevention measures, according to the first e-crime study by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). Retailers spent £16.5m on the measures themselves.

However, retailers also saw a significant loss to e-crime, with £77.3m being lost to fraud. The most expensive type of e-crime was personal identification related frauds, which produced £20m of losses, card fraud was in second place with £15m of losses.

The trade association claims e-crime is one of the retail sector’s biggest headaches, accounting for 0.75% of the £28bn online sales in 2011.However of those questioned in the BRC survey, 60% said it was unlikely they would report any more than 10% of e-crimes to police.  

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “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.   

“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.” 

He added: “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.” 

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