Global profiles of the fraudster: Technology enables and weak controls fuel the fraud

Global profiles of the fraudster

A look at the people who commit fraud, the sorts of fraud they commit and the manner in which the frauds are detected.

Who is the typical fraudster?

Fraud is a global scourge that harms corporate reputations, costs millions and ruins lives. We know it is a heavy economic and moral burden on society, but do we know who the typical fraudster is? Are there defining traits, features, or behaviors that could help you to identify individuals within your organization who may be more likely to perpetrate fraud? How they are committing the frauds, and with whom? And, perhaps most importantly, are there way we can use this information to combat fraud? KPMG has reported on fraud trends for many years and this is the third report that profiles fraudsters around the world.

This new report, Global profiles of the fraudster: Technology enables and weak controls fuel the fraud, a follow-up to a 2013 report, is based on a questionnaire asking KPMG Forensic professionals around the world for details about the fraudsters who were investigated between March 2013 and August 2015. The investigation frequently involved interviewing the fraudster, helping KPMG to form a detailed picture of the perpetrator and the fraud committed. This report is based on an analysis of 750 fraudstes across 81 countries.

In this survey, new questions have been added to learn more about the types of people who commit fraud, the sorts of fraud they commit and the manner in which the frauds are detected. The results show that technology was found to be a significant enabler for the fraudsters investigated (24 percent); by contrast, the survey reveals that technology is likely not being used enough to prevent or detect fraud. For example, it showed proactive analytics plays an astonishingly minor role in combating fraud, with only 3 percent of the fraudsters being detected in this manner. Another key finding is that weak internal controls remains a major contributing factor for the frauds, up from 54% in 2013 to 61% in the recent survey.

Some of our other findings indicate that a typical fraudster is:

  • between the ages of 36 and 55 (69 percent of fraudsters investigated)
  • predominantly male (79 percent), with the proportion of women on the rise at 17 percent, up from 13 percent in 2010
  • a threat from within (65 percent are employed by the company)
  • holds an executive or director level position (35 percent)
  • employed in the organization for at least six years (38 percent)
  • described as autocratic (18 percent) and are three times as likely to be regarded as friendly as not
  • esteemed, describing themselves as well-respected in their organization
  • likely to have colluded with others (62 percent of frauds, down just slightly from 70 percent in the 2013 survey)
  • motivated by personal gain (60 percent), greed (36 percent) and the sense of ‘because I can’ (27 percent).

© 2016 KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm. All rights reserved.

Connect with us

KPMG's new digital platform

KPMG's new digital platform

Fraud Investigations

KPMG’s Forensic practice investigates fraud situations where financial or other business behaviour may not comply with expectations.

Read more


Are you at risk from fraud and criminality?

Read more

Risk Consulting

Risk management is the responsibility of everyone, from the chief executive down.

Read more

Digital Investigations

Electronic evidence gathering can be critical to the success of a civil or criminal case.

Read more