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Rising Online Fraud Stings UK Internet Users

Posted: 26th Mar, 2007 By: MarkJ
The 'Get Safe Online' campaign group has reported that Internet users who have experienced online fraud lost an average of £875 each over the past twelve months:

A survey of UK internet adult users – who number 29 million – found that 12% (almost 3.5 million people) had experienced online fraud in the last year. In that time, 6% of all internet users (1.7 million people) suffered fraud while shopping online, 5% (1.5 million) experienced another form of general online fraud and 4% (1.2 million) were subject to bank account or credit card fraud as a result of activity online (some users experienced more than one of these).

The rise in online fraud comes as UK internet activity has risen dramatically. The report found that 93% of internet users now use the web daily and that, on average, we each spend £1,044 per year buying goods and services on the web – equivalent to £30 billion for the UK online population as a whole.

Whose responsibility is it anyway?

The Get Safe Online research pointed to the fact that, if internet users took the same precautions online that they do on the high street, a substantial proportion of online fraud losses could be prevented.

Fewer than half (48%) of internet users feel they are responsible for their own online safety. One-in-six (16%) believe their bank is wholly responsible for their online protection, whilst 13% feel that it is up to their internet service provider.

When asked which two things they take most care to protect, internet users report that they look after their credit/ bank cards and their wallets first and foremost (56% and 42% respectively). Just 9% take most care to protect their website password and 1% their email address.

Typically ISP's are merely conduits into the Internet and with the exception of their own services, can not be responsible for online fraud occurring outside of that (websites etc.).

It's ultimately up to users to make sure that their PC's have a firewall and anti-virus software installed, not to mention the importance of staying up to date with any related security patches. Using a different and hard to guess password for other online services is also essential.
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