A new survey commissioned by Get Safe Online suggests that over half of Brits have been a victim of some form of online crime such as fraud or identity theft, with half of those people saying they had been left feeling “very” or “extremely” violated. And yet, only a third of victims actually reported the crime with 47% of those who didn’t, saying they weren’t aware of who they should report the crime to.
These statistics have been released to coincide with the Get Safe Online Week which is an annual campaign by Get Safe Online to raise awareness of cyber-crime and how we can help protect ourselves against victims online. This campaign is in its ninth year and the theme this year is ‘Don’t Be A Victim’.
Cyber-crime is a growing threat, especially as more and more of us move our lives online but while as a nation we’re spending more than ever on internet-connected technology, it seems that we’re still not clued up when it comes to digital security. The research by Get Safe Online found that more than half of mobile phone users and almost two thirds of those with tablet computers don’t protect their devices with a password or PIN. Almost 60% of people using desktop computers didn’t bother with a password either and while the number was lower for laptop users, it still isn’t very encouraging with 37% saying they didn’t have a barrier to someone accessing their device.
What makes this lack of basic digital security even more surprising is that 53% of the population now sees online crime as seriously as crimes committed in the ‘physical’ world.
- 51% of Britons have experienced an online crime
- Half of victims of online crime ‘very or extremely violated’ by their experience
- 54% of Britons now want to unmask the cyber crooks behind online crimes
- 47% of victims of online crime don’t know who to report it to
- 67% of tablet users don’t have a password or PIN on their device
One positive to come out of this is that by being targeted online, victims are actively changing their behaviour with 45% opting for stronger passwords, 42% of people are now more vigilant when shopping online and 37% now always log out of accounts when they’re finished using them.
Fighting cyber-crime isn’t just a concern for the government and big technology companies. The fact is, we all have a responsibility to protect our personal details as best as we can. With that in mind, here are a few simple and easy steps that Get Safe Online suggest you take to make life difficult for cyber criminals.
- Put a PIN on it: One of the simplest ways to protect yourself is to put a strong PIN or password on a phone, tablet or any kind of online account. Never share your passwords with anyone.
- Look for the padlock: When banking or shopping online check for the padlock symbol in the browser window and make sure the web address begins with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
- Log-out/Log-off: When you’ve finished with your online accounts always remember to log out and log off a computer.
- If in doubt, don’t click: Never click on a link sent to you from someone you don’t know.
- Be software savvy: Protect all your devices with internet security (antivirus/antispyware) software and make sure you regularly install updates.
- Report it: If you have been a victim of cyber-enabled economic fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk. If you are a victim of online abuse or harassment, you should report it to your local police force.
For comprehensive, easy-to-follow, impartial advice on how to stay safe online, take a look at the Get Safe Online website at Getsafeonline.org.