UK loses £11 billion a year to fraud and cybercrime

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British businesses and members of the public lost a combined £10.9 billion pounds to fraud last year, according to new figures from anti-fraud groups.

Averaged across the whole adult population of the UK that equates to around £210 per person, but Action Fraud and Get Safe Online warn that the real figure is likely to be even higher.

Those polled by the group who said they had been a victim of online crime lost an average of £523 each but almost 40 per cent of victims said they hadn’t bothered to report the incident. More than a third (38 per cent) said they felt the matter was too trivial to report and a similar number (37 per cent) said they felt there was nothing that could be done about it.

According to the research 89 per cent of people were concerned about online safety and security but a quarter said they had only a limited understanding of the risks and how to protect themselves.

The study found that many Britons are still not taking the basic steps to keep themselves safe online, prompting the national fraud and cybercrime reporting agency to urge people to take their internet security more seriously

As many as 43 per cent of respondents said that they use the same password for multiple online accounts and even when warned to change a password after a security breach 12 per cent didn’t follow the advice.

The research also showed that respondents only update their security software every eight and a half months and a fifth do not update their device operating systems at all.

When it came to taking care of personal information, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) said they never updated their privacy settings on social media, with 58 per cent saying they did not know how to.

Tony Neate, chief executive of Get Safe Online, said: “The fact that the UK is losing nearly £11bn to cyber criminals is frightening and highlights the need for each and every one of us to make sure we are taking our online safety seriously. It is clear from our survey that people are very concerned, and rightly so.

“The fact that over a third of people felt there was nothing that could have been done to stop them becoming a victim is alarming indeed – particularly when it’s so easy to protect yourself online.

“Also, as our research shows, people are losing large sums of money on average - £523 being the equivalent of a holiday abroad or the price of a new piece of technology in the home.

“As a result, it seems there is still a big education job to do. Let’s not let cyber criminals get away with it anymore by ensuring that each and every one of us is updating the operating systems of our various devices and ensuring security software is always updated.

“What’s more we all need to ensure that we have a different password for each online account we own and website we visit. Online safety needs to be part of our everyday routines.”