Nearly half of all business organizations worldwide have been victims of fraud in the past two years, according to the 2005 PricewaterhouseCoopers' Global Economic Crime Survey released in late November.The survey found that the number of companies reporting fraud increased from 37 percent to 45 percent since 2003, a 22 percent increase. The cost to companies was an average of $1.7 million in losses from "tangible frauds," those resulting in immediate and direct financial loss, like asset misappropriation, false pretences or counterfeiting.

The biennial survey, conducted with Germany's Martin-Luther University, involved 3,634 companies from 34 countries. It revealed that total losses at the 1,227 of these companies that could quantify their losses exceeded $2 billion over the last two years. Companies around the world, on average, reported suffering eight fraud incidents since 2003.

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