The annual Scottish Financial Crime Group (SFCG) conference opening today in Glasgow will highlight how existing and potential crime threats pose a risk to economic wellbeing.

The SFCG, a partnership between the Scottish Police Service and members of the Scottish banking and financial services sector, says staff cuts, systems changes across merged businesses and uncertainty within global markets may encourage the criminal fraternity to "target our strongest asset – that is our people".

The group says previous conferences have focused on technological solutions rather than on the human element. "It is people, not just machines, practices and processes that will make the difference and drive the business forward during the economic downturn," it said.

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The event at the Glasgow Science Centre and IMAX will target financial crime in e-crime, fraud and physical security. Also on the agenda are lessons learned from the Olympics in preparation for the Commonwealth Games.

SFCG chair and assistant chief constable Angela Wilson from Tayside Police said: "The financial services sector faces huge challenges and has undergone significant restructuring. It is vital for all businesses to remain vigilant to fraudsters."

Some £45.5 billion of financial fraud is thought to be in the private sector, with £6.1bn losses shouldered by individuals.