New Delhi: White-collar crime in corporate India has witnessed a “substantial increase" over the last two years partly because the economic slump puts pressure on employees to meet targets, according to KPMG’s India Fraud Survey, 2012.

“Close to 55% of respondents indicated that their organizations experienced fraud in the last two years, vis-a-vis 45% in the 2010 edition of the fraud survey," said the survey, which was conducted in June through an online questionnaire that was sent to public and private companies. There were responses from 293 companies.

The economic uncertainty also makes fraud more likely to be discovered as managements step up their vigilance to protect margins and profit, according the survey that was released in Delhi on Monday.

The survey comes amid reports of alleged fraud and corruption among companies and the government, which has seen ministers and executives resigning and some of them going to jail.

Cracking down on fraud is critical for a country that needs investment.

“India is a fast-growing economy. The problem is a level of low confidence in international investors, which stems from corruption," Rohit Mahajan, partner and co-head, forensic services, KPMG India, said at a press briefing in New Delhi. “Besides international investors, this has also impacted entrepreneurial spirit in India."

The infringements are of various kinds, with bribery and corruption making up 83% of cases. A large part of the frauds also relate to cyber crime (71%) and diversion of assets (65%). The sectors most affected are financial services (33%) and information and entertainment (17%), according to the survey.

Most frauds (85%) are investigated internally and very little of the money is actually recovered, the survey said. The most effective methods for detecting frauds are whistleblowers, internal audits and data analytics.

As for the future, cyber crime, intellectual property fraud (counterfeiting and piracy) and identity theft were seen as the main threats.

“Technology is changing the fraud landscape and challenging the boundaries of fraud risk management," Mahajan said in the press release accompanying the survey findings. “By misusing technology, even relatively simple frauds like those in procurement can become sophisticated and difficult to detect."

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