Many of us aren’t taking basic steps to keep safe online, as new research reveals that nearly half of the UK public (43%) use the same password for multiple online accounts.
The government backed, Get Sage Online initiative, says that even when a company warns people to change their password after a breach –12% said they did not follow the advice.
It’s urging both consumers and small businesses to start making themselves safer, as a staggering £10.9 billion was lost to the UK economy as a result of fraud, including cybercrime, in 2015/16.
This equates to about £210 per person, although the figure is likely to be much higher as many don’t report incidents of fraud.
Tony Neate, chief executive of Get Safe Online, says: “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.” Read about how scammers will seek to empty your bank account and why digitally-savvy users are most likely to be victims of fraud.
Commander of the City of London Police and the police national coordinator for economic crime, Chris Greany, adds: “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 wouldn’t leave your door unlocked, so you shouldn’t leave yourself unprotected online.”
How to protect yourself online
Get Safe Online has created the following tips to help protect online users:
- Review the passwords you use on your online accounts: Make sure they’re strong enough and that you’re not using the same ones for more than one account. Consider how you’re going to remember them all – such as using an online password safe.
- Check your social media privacy settings. Make sure your information and updates are only seen by people you trust.
- Update your operating system and software programs/apps on your computer, mobile phone, and tablet if you’ve been prompted to do so. It takes only a few minutes and with your mobile devices, you can even do it while you’re asleep.
- If you have children, think about whether you’re doing enough to help ensure they’re staying safe online.
If you think you’ve been a victim of financial fraud, contact your bank or credit card provider immediately. You should also 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.