A report commissioned by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and fraud prevention group Get Safe Online has revealed from April 2015 to April 2016, cybercrime cost the UK economy a staggering £10.9 billion.
The loss equates to £210 for every person over 16 living in the UK, however, it is feared the actual scale of cybercrime is much more. More than a third of respondents admitted they had not reported incidents of fraud, with experts predicting the true extent of losses is likely to be nearer £523 per person. At a time of economic uncertainty, this represents a significant sum of lost investment in the UK economy and means consumers are left out of pocket.
According to the report, phishing emails and texts are still one of the most popular tactics fraudsters use to steal confidential information such as bank and credit card details. More than half of those surveyed stated they had received fraudulent messages attempting to direct them to websites where personal information could have been stolen. In May 2016 there was a significant rise in people reporting a sophisticated phishing campaign to Action Fraud—the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre—after scammers pretending to be from HMRC sent messages offering tax rebates.
Despite the fact the report showed 72 per cent of people classify identity theft as their biggest concern, 43 per cent admitted using the same password for multiple online accounts—highlighting the need for wide-scale improvement in online protection and education.
Tony Neate, Chief Executive of Get Safe Online, stated: “The fact that the UK is losing nearly £11 billion 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.”
Chris Greany, the Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, said: “The huge financial loss to cybercrime hides the often harrowing human stories that destroy lives and blights every community in the UK. All of us need to ask ourselves: are we doing everything we can to protect ourselves from online criminals? Unfortunately, people still click on links in unsolicited emails and fail to update their security software. Just as you would not leave your door unlocked, you should not leave yourself unprotected online.”
In recent years, e-commerce sites and mobile banking systems have become increasingly popular with consumers. The latest research from the E-commerce Foundation shows that e-commerce in the UK is set to reach €174 billion by the end of 2016. 43 million British shoppers made purchases online last year, with 20 per cent of these transactions done via mobile devices—this represents a significant market for fraudsters and cybercriminals to target. With the average person estimated to be losing more than a week’s wages as a direct result of online fraud, consumers need to do all they can to ensure they are protected online.
Andy Gent, Founder and CEO of Revector, says “Research suggests there has been a staggering 90 million cyberattacks in 2016 – this could double in 2017. In the past six months we have experienced a significant increase in requests for intelligent products to protect against cybercrime. With IoT infiltrating cities, homes and workplaces the need for new, secure solutions is vital. Revector is developing a suite of cyber protection services for SME’s. The products will ensure that business critical information is secure and networks are safe from fraudulent activity.”