Cybercrime, money laundering on the increase in S’pore: PwC
SINGAPORE — Cybercrime has increased in the city state, along with money laundering, even as more traditional forms of white collar crime such as asset misappropriation are on the decline, PwC’s latest Global Economic Crime Survey showed on Thursday (Feb 25).
Cybercrime incidents rose to 43 per cent in 2016 from 15 per cent in 2014 to become the second most pervasive economic crime in Singapore, said the business advisory firm, adding that the figure surpassed the global average of 32 per cent.
Such crime is expected to remain a concern, with the number of companies expecting to suffer from it over the next two years increasing to 37 per cent from 11 per cent. While 13 per cent of Singapore-based companies reported an estimated direct loss of US$100,000 (S$140,000) to US$1 million due to cybercrime, PwC noted that overall financial damage, including costs for data loss or unplanned downtime, was around S$1.9 billion in 2014, according to Monetary Authority of Singapore estimates.
More economic crime related to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism was also uncovered during the period, reflecting heightened scrutiny by regulators and significant challenges faced by financial institutions in implementing and upgrading transaction monitoring systems. The number of cases for such crimes rose to 26 per cent in 2016 from 5 per cent in 2014, compared to the global average of 24 per cent.
However, the growth of such crimes has been offset by fewer incidents of cases such as asset misappropriation, with economic crime remaining around 24 per cent.
Asset misappropriation cases amounted to 61 per cent, the lowest since 2009 and down from 80 per cent in 2014. Despite the decline, such crime — theft or embezzlement of cash, inventory and company assets by management or employees — remains the most frequently experienced type of economic crime both in Singapore and globally.
PwC listed procurement fraud and bribery and corruption as the other major types of economic crime in Singapore. It said 35 per cent of businesses here were victims of procurement fraud based on the survey over the period compared to 27 per cent in the Asia Pacific and the global average of 23 per cent. More than three quarters of the respondents who experienced procurement fraud reported that it occurred at the beginning of the procurement process, such as during the bidding and vendor selection.