Pulling fraud out of the shadows

Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2018 - Belgian results

Economic crime remains a persistent threat

Almost two-thirds (65%) of companies in Belgium experienced economic crime in the last two years, compared to under half (49%) globally, according to the results of our Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2018. Sixty-two firms in Belgium took part in the survey. While 43% indicate the estimated financial impact to be below $25,000, almost a third (30%) think it’s between $100,000 and $1,000,000.

The most prevalent type of economic crime in Belgium is cybercrime (53%), which is in second place globally (31%), behind asset misappropriation (45%). Asset misappropriation finds itself in second place in Belgium, reportedly experienced by 30% of respondents.

In third place both globally and in Belgium is fraud committed by the consumer, the first time that survey respondents had the opportunity to include this type of economic crime as an answer.


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Types of economic crime experienced

How are Belgian firms being attacked?

While cybercrime and asset misappropriation remain the top two types of economic crime experienced in Belgium, rates for these crimes decreased compared to results of our 2016 Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey. Indeed, almost all types of economic crime were seen less over the last two years, than the two years prior.

Accounting fraud however increased in Belgium, from eight percent in our 2016 survey results to 10% in 2018. Globally, accounting fraud increased from 18% to 20% this year.


Detecting and combating economic crime

Our survey shows that corporate controls are the largest contributor to detection, with 47% of respondents in Belgium (52% globally) indicating that the most disruptive fraud was initially detected by this method. However, a large part of economic crime (Belgium: 26%; globally: 27%) is also detected through tip-offs or hotlines - a trend that’s likely to continue to grow, given increased attention for whistle-blowing hotlines.

Almost half (47%) of companies in Belgium increased their financial commitment to combating economic crime in the past two years (42% globally). However, despite fraud jumps and increasing technology pervasiveness, more than half of Belgian (and global) respondents don’t plan to increase spending over the coming two years.



Cybercrime is the most common economic crime in Belgium, experienced by 53% of respondents

Cybercrime: Belgium’s number one threat

Cybercrime is the most common economic crime in Belgium, experienced by 53% of respondents. Importantly, almost two-thirds (62%) of Belgian respondents believe that cybercrime will continue to be the most disruptive economic crime in the next 24 months, outperforming other types of crime. The most ‘popular’ techniques used by cybercriminals are phishing (66%), malware (56%) and network scanning (16%).

The greatest impact of cybercrime was disruption to business processes (31%), closely followed by asset misappropriation (28%). Just two percent of respondents reported intellectual property theft. Worryingly, 20% of Belgian respondents indicated that they don’t know what the exact consequences are, which is alarming because there might have been data loss or IP theft!

Also of concern is that, although 66% of Belgian respondents worked on cybersecurity programmes over the last 24 months and such programmes were installed by 55% of respondents (up from 37% in 2016), only 35% indicated they carried out an assessment of their plan.

Keep your organisation safe

Although overall, the percentage of companies that perform a risk assessment is rather low, entities in Belgium respond to the increased risk of cybercrime with increased attention for cyber (61%) compared to global (46%). 

Here are three action points to consider:

Keep your finger on the regulatory pulse

Look beyond mechanical compliance with today’s laws. Instead, look ahead and examine how to properly structure to comply with upcoming legislative trends.

Focus on having a viable function within the organisation that keeps track of pending regulations in this area.

Lead the pack; don’t follow

Being in the middle of the pack exposes you to the risk of falling behind the regulatory curve.

Focus on being strategically nimble and innovative to help you stay on top of the regulatory changes.

Learn from others’ mistakes

Since most transactions have a multinational financial component, it’s good practice to default to the highest global standard of compliance whenever possible, and to carry out more rigorous AML/CFT self-assessments.

Establish “enterprise-wide” requirements to ensure consistency across geographies.

Contact us

Rudy Hoskens

Partner, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 47 866 2133

Stefan Francini

Director, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 49 186 4035

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