The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed a 40% increase in violence and abuse against retail staff in the UK over the last year, and pointed out that 53% of retail fraud is now cyber-enabled.
The findings come in the organisation's latest Retail Crime Survey, revealing that ever more sophisticated forms of crime are being perpetrated against retailers and their customers. Examples of these cyber-enabled crimes include phishing, theft of consumer data, doxing and social engineering as well as “a host of other increasingly elaborate scams.”
The report highlights concerns among retailers that existing deterrence is not effective enough, and a growing sense among those working in the retail industry that offenders are able to act with impunity. The overall number of retail crimes committed has risen to 3.6million, with the direct financial cost of crime to the retail industry reaching £660m in 2015-16.
Said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE, “These figures reflect a deeply concerning trend. Attacks on retail workers are intolerable, as are attempts to defraud customers. A significant aspect of the cyber security challenge for retailers is the attractiveness of customer data from the point of view of criminals, many of whom operate outside UK borders but can nevertheless gain relatively easy access to UK digital networks.
“Retailers are doing everything possible to ensure that staff members and customers are safe and protected. But this rising tide should be stemmed through even stronger cooperation between industry, the government, law enforcement and the private security industry. There is work to do to further improve collaboration between the UK retail industry and its partners, and raise standards of security and policing of these threats across the country.”