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Commercial crime is on the rise again

Commercial crime is on the rise again

“Four-fifths of all Austrian companies have already been affected by crime,” said Rainer Weil, Managing Director of the Retail Association, at the presentation of the “Safety Study 2023” on Tuesday, which was carried out in cooperation by the Austrian Retail Association. With the Federal Criminal Police Office. 150 local companies of all trades and sizes (from sole proprietorships to corporations) participated online.

According to this, 82 percent of local retailers have already experienced crime in brick-and-mortar retail, and 40 percent even multiple times. Shoplifting tops the list of the most common crimes in this area, at 89 percent, which has returned to pre-pandemic levels after a pandemic-related decline. These crimes alone cause annual damages of around 500 million euros in Austrian retail.

Concrete preventive measures against crime

“It is positive that almost all retailers use specific crime protection measures in their own business,” said Robert Spivak, Metro Austria’s Head of Audit and Security and Head of the Trade Association’s “Retail Security”.

When it comes to preventive measures, companies most often rely on employee training (63 percent), video surveillance (59 percent) and closing all commercial premises (52 percent). 61 percent of shoplifting cases have been resolved.

Significant increase in cybercrime as well

There has also been a sharp increase in cybercrime. In 2022, crime statistics in the field of cybercrime recorded a maximum of 60,195 reports. It also affected trade, with damages amounting to 16 million euros.

As digitization increases, “crime is also going digital,” said Manuel Schercher, deputy director of the Federal Criminal Police Office, who was involved in preparing the report.

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According to this, 64 percent of local online retailers have already been victims of cybercrime, and 34 percent more than once. The most common forms of cybercrime include phishing (61 percent), malware attacks (52 percent), and cyber extortion by hackers (32 percent).

Consumers are also affected

But consumers have been affected, too. “It is alarming that a quarter of consumers have already fallen victim to fake web shops,” Weil said. A third have had negative experiences with malware such as viruses or Trojans, 20 percent have already been affected by data theft.

The police strongly advised that every case, no matter how small, should be reported. “Maybe that’s exactly the missing piece of the puzzle,” Shercher explained. But prevention is also an important aspect. Here Schircher referred to the “Gemeinsam.Sicher im Online-Handel” program of the Office of the Federal Criminal Police and the Trade Union.