Four out of five businesses worldwide have been hurt by some type of corporate fraud in the last three years, according to a survey commissioned by risk consultant Kroll.
The survey, released Monday, found that one in 10 big companies loses more than $100 million annually to fraud, including theft of physical assets or information, internal financial fraud, corruption or bribery.
Eighty-one percent of companies believe that their exposure to corporate fraud has increased, the report also found.
The survey polled 892 senior executives worldwide, representing 10 industries. It was carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit for Kroll, a unit of Marsh & McLennan .
The survey found that the average cost due to fraud to large companies, with annual revenues of more than $5 billion, was more than $20 million.
The most frequently cited cause mentioned by 32 percent of the respondents was high staff turnover.
Other factors included: complex information technology arrangements, entry into new markets and increased collaboration between companies.
"The risks of fraud for business are greater today than in the past," said Andres Antonius, president of Kroll's Consulting Services Group. "Even the whiff of a fraud may sometimes be sufficient to place a company under severe scrutiny or in financial distress."