There has been a sharp rise in the number of firms falling victim to fraud due to the lingering effects of the global financial crisis.
PricewaterhouseCoopers found almost half of 93 New Zealand respondents to its global economic survey of crime suffered some form of economic crime in the last year, up from 42% two years ago.
That placed New Zealand fourth in terms of fraud reported, significantly above the global average of 34%, and higher than Australia's 47%.
It appears need, not greed, may be the main reason behind the worrying rising trend, says Alex Tan, a director of forensics services at the firm.
"We are seeing a few of the frauds coming out there which we are classifying rather as fraud for need as opposed fraud for greed. I think that is responsible for the spike," he says.
He says conceivably the level of fraud is higher than reported in the survey because people did not report it in the survey or did not know it was happening.
Most sectors experienced a rise in fraud, led by retail, energy and mining and government.
Stealing money was the main form of thieving.
Of those firms which suffered losses, 65% lost less than $135,000, but two respondents lost more than $6.7 million.