News

Fraudsters hit one in eight UK internet users

Warwick Ashford

One in eight UK internet users have been victims of fraud, which totalled £2.61bn in the past year, a survey has revealed.

On average, £460 was stolen from each of the victims, the online survey of more than 2,000 UK internet users found.

That is despite that fact that many online shoppers claim to be security conscious and using extra caution when buying goods online.

Some 82% of respondents claimed to buy only from websites with enhanced security settings, with 3% more women than men claiming to check security before they buy online.

The survey showed that people aged 45 to 54 are defrauded most often, with 14% of victims in this age group. Londoners are the most careless about buying online.

Some 18% of Londoners said they did not bother checking whether a website had enhanced security settings before buying from it.

The findings highlight the need for more education on how online shoppers can protect themselves, said internet infrastructure services firm VeriSign, which commissioned the survey.

"Research reveals that there is not a relationship between the number of people who check a website's security and those who have been scammed," said Martin Mackay, VeriSign's vice-president of EMEA.

As part of a campaign to raise awareness around online fraud, the firm has launched the VeriSign UK Fraud Index, a biannual barometer of online fraud.

According to CIFAS, the UK's fraud prevention service, the fraud index will help track the threat landscape to help combat fraud and guide online shoppers.

"Cyber criminals are undoubtedly getting more devious, but consumers can easily lessen the likelihood of online fraud by stepping up their own awareness of how they can protect themselves online," said Richard Hurley, communications manager at CIFAS.

Guidelines for safety online

• Use a personal firewall and anti-virus software

• Disconnect from the internet when not online

• Protect laptops with a password

• Use strong passwords

• Use two-factor authentication if possible

• Check the website is safe before buying

• Avoid sites with any typographical errors

• Check that shopping site URLs begin with https

• Use secure Wi-Fi networks


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