More than half of Irish firms have experienced fraud in the last two years, a new survey has found.

This is higher than the level experienced by global companies, according to the poll by PwC and means fraud and economic crime here is now at a record high.

Cybercrime is fuelling the increase, with levels here now double that experienced by global peers the results show, up at 69% from 61% two years ago.

The Irish Fraud and Economic Crime Survey 2020 found that business fraud has cost some companies more that €4m in the last two years.

Of those that experienced fraud, 61% experienced two or more incidents in the two year period since the survey was last conducted.

"The research highlights that cybercrime is the most prevalent of economic crimes and is a huge cost for businesses," said Detective Chief Superintendent, Pat Lordan, Garda National Economic Crime Bureau.

"From the survey, 69% of frauds are committed by external parties which is in line with our recent experiences."

41% of Irish based respondents said their firm had experienced customer fraud, higher than global peers at 35%.

Asset misappropriation, accounting fraud and money laundering were also commonly experienced by firms here.

"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many organisations continue to review their business models in an attempt to operate with a reduced cost base," Pat Moran, PwC Ireland Cyber Leader.

"However, this may give rise to a perfect storm for fraud: for example, increased remote working may lead to an increased likelihood of a successful phishing or smishing attempt as security defences may have become weakened."

The survey also found that the cost of fraud can be significant.

18% said that the cost of the fraud was immeasurable or they did not know its cost, while 11% said that they spent over €800,000 on remediation after an incident.

Nearly half of Irish organisations did not report the crime to their board and a fifth did not conduct an investigation at all.~