The FINANCIAL -- As Christmas shopping frenzy Cyber Monday (December 2nd) approaches, research has found that British online shoppers have been victims of fraud totalling £1.5bn in the past twelve months, according to the research, conducted by Barclays and Kaspersky Lab.
Online fraud has cost UK shoppers £1.5bn since the last festive season
Four million online fraud victims in the UK a year with an average loss of £371
Barclays and Kaspersky Lab urge 33.6m online shoppers to be “netwise” this Christmas
More than four million people have fallen victim to online fraud in the UK since last December, with an average loss of £371 per incident, according to the research.
Online criminals could be set for a fraud field day on Cyber Monday, as 33.6 million people plan to purchase their Christmas gifts online this year.
Despite online shopping becoming part of the fabric of life in the UK, there are still large numbers of consumers who have a naïve attitude to the risk of fraud with over a quarter (27%) admitting that they don’t take the precautionary measure to protect their finances online.
To prevent the festive period becoming a windfall for fraudsters, Barclays and Kaspersky Lab are encouraging the nation to be more netwise and to pay greater attention to their internet security.
“As the number of people shopping online is set to peak this Monday – with 33.6 million of us planning to do our shopping on the web this Christmas – cyber-criminals will have a field day if precautions aren’t taken. Our research has shown that internet shoppers will be faced with a high level of threat to their personal and financial information as they hit the online stores this Christmas," said Alex Grant, Managing Director, Fraud Prevention at Barclays.
“That’s why we’ve teamed up with Kaspersky Lab to offer all our customers free access to their suite of products that keep financial information safe and have created a range of tools and advice working with Getsafeonline.org. If everyone takes some simple steps, we can all avoid giving fraudsters a gift this Christmas,” he added.
When it comes to taking precautions online, consumers should be following the cautious habits of older shoppers. While over eight in ten (82%) of over 55s take precautionary measures to protect their finances, just six in ten (62%) 18-24 year olds do the same, according to the research.
“I’ve been talking to people about shopping safely online for years but every Christmas, without fail, I see worrying statistics about people being scammed online. £1.5 billion is a huge amount of money. The problem is, scams are evolving and getting more sophisticated all the time, they also change as trends come and go so it’s understandable that people sometimes get caught out,” Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online said.
Not only does the older generation take the necessary steps to safeguard their online purchases, nearly nine in 10 (87%) say they always consider the risks of online fraud when making a purchase, compared to less than seven out of ten (68%) of their younger counterparts.
“Fraud is not the only thing that will be putting Brits at risk when they hit the online stores this Christmas. In 2013 more than one in three people encountered malware when searching the web[iv]. With the anticipated spike in online shopping traffic in the run up to Christmas, this statistic must act as a red flag reminder that we need to protect ourselves against the variety of cyber threats we may face," David Emm, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab said.
“The good news here is that the answer to protecting ourselves against these threats lies in common sense. There are simple tools and tricks we can all employ when shopping online to avoid risk – such as being mindful of where you log on to the Internet and keeping your personal information secure. It’s not dissimilar to offline safety. It might be OK to walk alone at night – but it’s risky. If we take the right precautions in the first place (for example taking well-lit routes, staying close to our friends), the risk reduces. We should adopt a similar common sense mindset when we shop online,” he added.
“At Get Safe Online we make it our responsibility to try and highlight new types of fraud as much as we can to keep shoppers safe online. What consumers need to do is keep the basics in mind as a good preventative measure. We know that Christmas is a busy and stressful time for people so we don’t try and overwhelm people with over complicated advice. If you’ve managed to hunt down that perfect present that you’ve been traipsing round the high street for online, at a fraction of the cost, take a step back and think before you buy it. Is it too good to be true?," Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online said.
To ensure that British consumers are protected when they shop online, Barclays offers the award-winning Kaspersky Internet Security Suite, Kaspersky Mobile Security Suite and Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Mac free of charge to all its Online and Mobile Banking customers, according to Barclays.