Business fraud is becoming more attractive because of growing rewards and falling chances of prosecution, according to BDO Stoy Hayward.
Its Fraudtrack report found that fraud involving businesses hit £538m in the first half of 2007, up 42% from 2006.
It said VAT fraud was so lucrative that criminals only needed to hide away a few percent when they got caught.
“Many fraudsters are laughing all the way to their offshore tax haven,” said BDO’s Simon Bevan.
The report said that even those fraudsters who end up going to prison would only serve between two and five years, even for those involved with multimillion pound frauds.
Card fraud has affected more than seven million people in the UK, figures show.
Research from the European Security Transport Association (Esta) found that nearly 20 per cent of the adult population in Great Britain had been targeted as part of a credit or debit card scam.
It makes the UK the card fraud capital of Europe, with citizens almost twice at risk of becoming a victim compared to adults in seven other European countries polled as part of the survey.
Reported fraud in the UK surged in the first six months of the year, passing levels seen for the whole of most recent years, a study has found.
Major fraud cases involving £653m came to court in 2006, up from £250m at the same time in 2005 and £392m for all of 2004, KPMG’s Fraud Barometer found.
So-called “supercases”, involving hundreds of millions of pounds, made up a significant part of the increase.
Elsewhere, crooked staff, ID fraudsters and gambling addicts drove the rise.
According to the accounting giant’s report, a total of 123 fraud cases came to court during the first six months of the year, significantly higher than the 88 recorded for the first half of 2005.