By continuing to use The Drum, I accept the use of cookies as per The Drum's privacy policy

Leading police officer warns cyber crime and online fraud has risen "exponentially" costing UK businesses £205 million this year

Cyber crime has cost UK businesses around £205 million in the last year leading commissioner Adrian Leppard, head of City of London Police, to admit that online fraud was rising "exponentially".

Businesses have lost £205 million to online fraud

Leppard warned MPs earlier this month that police were struggling to keep up with internet criminals and that the largest number of attacks were coming from Eastern Europe and Russia.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has claimed groups in 25 countries have chosen Britain as their main target, and has identified some 300 internet fraud gangs worldwide.

Leppard added fraud costs the UK around £70 billion a year, half of this is carried out online, with the average cost to the victim being an estimated £25,000. Among the victims were wealthy retired people who are likely to be conned collectively of £3.5 billion a year, a "significant loss to the most vulnerable people in our society," according to Leppard.

There is also "evidence" of terrorist groups using the online fraud to fund their activities and retailers have noted online fraud has increased by some 30 per cent in the last year.

Speaking of possible police cuts Leppard commented: "This is a very worrying criminal trend. The real worry is that, at a time when fraud and e-crime is going up, the capability of the country is going down."