More than half of small businesses have been a victim of fraud or online crime in the last 12 months.
A report by the Federation of Small Businesses, found that 37 per cent had an issue with phishing emails, 15 per cent were victim to card not present fraud and 15 per cent experienced IT system issues such as viruses and hacking.
More worrying though was the statistic that one third of businesses currently do not report fraud or online crime to the police or banks, as they ‘believe that it would not achieve anything'.
More than half of the respondents wanted clearer information about how and where to report these types of crime, and 44 per cent want a specifically named contact in their local police force responsible for tackling fraud and online crime.
If a designated reporting centre was set up to gather data and use it to fight fraud, 85 per cent of businesses in England and Scotland said that they would report incidents to it.
The report said: “Most fraud, where it has a financial impact, costs small businesses between £500 and £5,000, while the average cost across the sector is £768 a year.”
Mike Cherry, home affairs chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Fraud and online crime is on the rise and is a growing concern for small businesses particularly in the current economic climate. In volume terms, instances of low level crime against a business such as vandalism or criminal damage are more frequent, however, the issue with fraud and online crime is that one event can be highly disruptive and even force a business to close.
“Small businesses need to take steps to protect themselves but are also relying on an effective response to fraud and online crime from the police, banks and other relevant organisations.”