Cybercrime on the rise in Switzerland | KPMG | CH

Cybercrime on the rise in Switzerland

Cybercrime on the rise in Switzerland

Last year saw a sharp increase in the number of cases of white-collar crime in Switzerland. At CHF 537.2 million, however, the total losses sustained were down compared to the previous year. Financial institutions were hit hardest. Cybercrime increased considerably. These are the insights provided by the latest edition of the “KPMG Forensic Fraud Barometer”.


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In 2014 KPMG registered 77 cases of white-collar crime in Switzerland. Compared to the previous year, this represents a 32.7% increase in the number of cases recorded. Yet despite the higher number of cases, the total losses sustained in 2014 fell 35.3% to CHF 537.2 million. The higher total loss amount in 2013 was primarily attributable to four cases involving losses in excess of CHF 125 million each. Losses sustained in 2014 were 8% higher than in 2012. As in the previous year, embezzlement continued to be the most frequently registered crime with 20 cases reported in 2014. The criminally obtained assets were often used to finance the perpetrator’s own lifestyle or addictions such as drugs and gambling.

Multiple cases of cybercrime

Seven cases of cybercrime were registered within the scope of the “KPMG Forensic Fraud Barometer” in 2014 with losses amounting to a total of CHF 200.5 million. Four cases concerned online fraud. In these, high-quality, quick-selling goods such as well-known brands of mobile phones were offered for sale on online platforms without any intent of transferring ownership of these goods. In another case of cybercrime, the former IT employee of an electrical installation service provider still had external access to the company server even after the employment relationship had ended. Manipulations to his former employer’s Outlook calendar and other acts of revenge caused losses totaling CHF 100,000. Yet another case involved four men who gained access to credit card details on Internet portals. They then used this information to finance a lavish lifestyle, thereby causing a loss of CHF 78,000.

Number of white-collar crimes highest in Zurich

As in past years, the largest number of white-collar crimes in 2014 was committed in the Zurich region with 27 cases registered. At CHF 13.8 million, this area also ranked highest in terms of average loss per case in a regional comparison. The loss per case in Ticino, which came in second, was only half as high at CHF 6.7 million. The case involving the highest loss took place in Zurich, as well. Increases were also seen in both the number and volume of white-collar crimes in Northwestern Switzerland. In Central Switzerland, Eastern Switzerland and the Lake Geneva region, on the other hand, 2014 brought a decrease in losses.

Financial institutions and investors hit most frequently

Financial institutions represented the hardest-hit group of victims again in 2014 with total losses reaching CHF 323.3 million. At CHF 18 million, financial institutions also suffered the highest average loss per case. Investors were the second-hardest-hit group with total losses amounting to CHF 137 million. Here the average loss per case was substantially lower at CHF 12.4 million.

Executives cause average of CHF 9.3 million in losses

The largest recorded case of white-collar crime was attributable to organized crime and involved a loss of CHF 200 million. If this case is omitted from the statistics, it becomes evident that insufficiently monitored executives continue to pose a great potential threat on account of their special position within the company. In the 18 cases in which the perpetrators came from the ranks of upper management, an average loss of CHF 9.3 million was incurred per case. In the 12 cases involving employees as perpetrators, on the other hand, the average loss per case amounted to a mere CHF 1.9 million.

White-collar crime by region/geographical distribution

White-collar crime broken down by perpetrator

White-collar crime broken down by victim


The KPMG Forensic Fraud Barometer is based on cases of white-collar crime that were closed by a Swiss criminal court during the year under review in which losses amounted to at least CHF 50,000 and which were reported in Switzerland’s main daily and weekly newspapers. 

Forensic Fraud Barometer 2014

© 2017 KPMG Holding AG is a member of the KPMG network of independent firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss legal entity. All rights reserved.

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