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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : August 27, 2012

British retailers count the cost of e-crime

In one of its first studies into e-crime in the UK, the British Retail Consortium reveals that the total cost to retailers in 2011/12 was at least $325 million.

by Helen Leggatt

While retailers benefit from today's technology and associated e-commerce, the fly in the ointment is e-crime. After the USA, brands in the UK are the most-targeted in the world and the UK has the biggest online spend per-capita of any nation.

According to the British Retail Consortium's first ever e-crime study, "Counting the Cost of E-Crime" (.pdf), e-crime represented 0.75% of the $44 billion in retail sales taken during 2011 and is twice as costly to retailers as overall retail crime.

E-crime is the biggest emerging threat to the retail sector as the rapid growth in e-commerce in the UK sees new ways of shopping being accompanied by new types of crime.

The BRC study also revealed the e-crimes that cost retailers the most money:

- $31.6 million: Personal identification-related fraud
- $23.7 million: Card fraud
- $1.9 million: Refund fraud

"The rapid growth of e-commerce in the UK shows it offers great benefits for customers but also new opportunities for criminals," said Stephen Robertson, British Retail Consortium Director General. "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 maximize its contribution to national economic growth."

As well as e-crime, retailers' profits are being hampered by the cost of fraud and crime prevention and, say the BRC, due to legitimate business being lost because honest customers may be deterred from continuing with an online purchase by additional online security measures.

Tags: e-crime, ecommerce, fraud, online regulation, online trends, phishing, retail, UK

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