21st October 2014
Online fraud is costing Britons £670m per year, figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau have revealed.
The study, released today as part of Get Safe Online week, found that 51% of Britons have been a victim of an online crime.
The crimes they reported include online fraud, identity theft, hacking, distribution of viruses and online abuse.
However, experts said that the true cost of crime may be significantly higher as many internet-enabled frauds go unreported.
Separate figures from Get Safe Online, found that more than half of mobile phone users and around a third of laptop owners do not have a password or PIN number for their device.
Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “The UK cyber market is worth over £80 billion a year and rising. The internet is undoubtedly a force for good but we cannot stand still in the face of these threats, which already cost our economy billions every year.
“As part of this government’s long-term economic plan, we want to make the UK one of the most secure places to do business in cyberspace. We have a £860 million Cyber Security Programme which supports law enforcement’s response to cybercrime and we are working with the private sector to help all businesses protect vital information assets.”
Tony Neate, chief executive of Get Safe Online, added: ” Our research shows just how serious a toll cybercrime can take – both on the wallet and on well-being, and this has been no more apparent than in the last few weeks with various large-scale personal photo hacks of celebrities and the general public. Unfortunately, this is becoming more common now that we live more of our lives online.”
He said: “We can all take simple steps to protect ourselves, including putting a password on your computer or mobile device, never clicking on a link sent by a stranger, using strong passwords and always logging off from an account or website when you’re finished. “