Cybercrime misconceptions putting UK consumers at risk

  • Affinion Cybercrime SOS report reveals UK is one of the nations most worried by cybercrime, behind only Brazil, USA and Spain, with people more concerned about cybercrime than burglary or assault
  • A quarter of people have been impacted by ID theft, yet 51% don’t feel confident in how to prevent cybercrime
  • Anxiety regarding cybercrime grows with age
  • Fifty five per cent of respondents do not feel confident to prevent cybercrime
  • Many cybercrime myths exist – a third of UK consumers believe public Wi-Fi has to be secure by law, for example

Cybercrime myths are putting UK consumers at increased risk, research published today in Affinion’s Cybercrime SOS report reveals.

A third of people (33%) incorrectly believe that public Wi-Fi has to, by law, have effective security (this jumps to 58% in Turkey). Similarly, less than half (48%) know that https:// means a website is secure (only 35% in Sweden and Norway) and a quarter (23%) aren’t aware that using the same password across accounts impacts the risk of fraud. This is leaving consumers confused and makes the fight against cybercrime even more difficult.

The report, based on research with more than 13,000 consumers in 12 countries, reveals significant awareness gaps and concern regarding cybercrime. More than two thirds (69%) of UK consumers said they were worried by cybercrime, making it one of the most concerned countries behind only Brazil (87%), USA (75%) and Spain (73%),

Fraudulent financial transactions are the most common forms of cybercrime experienced (51% impacted), followed by having a social media or email account hacked (49% affected), and fake calls, email link or SMS (45% impacted). A quarter (27%) of Brits have been impacted by ID theft directly or indirectly.

Despite this, UK consumers are more concerned about cybercrime than any other form of crime – 69 per cent are very or quite concerned about cybercrime, compared to 61 per cent who are concerned about property crime (e.g. burglary), 61 per cent about physical crime such as assault, and 49 per cent about vehicle crime.  Awareness of cybercrime seems to grow with age, according to the research; respondents aged 18–24 were more concerned about physical crime than cybercrime, but from the age of 35 onwards, cybercrime is perceived as the greater risk.

Globally, women are more concerned than men across all types of cybercrime. The biggest gender difference is regarding online shopping fraud (67% women show concern, vs 59% men), ID theft (68% vs 60%) and fraudulent transactions (69% vs 61%).

When interviewed, 70 per cent of people believe their concern is growing because they perceive the number of incidents to be increasing; 46 per cent said it was due to more media coverage of the issue and 30 per cent because they know a victim of cybercrime. A third said they feel more vulnerable because they have more online accounts and therefore increased concern.

When it comes to tackling cybercrime, a staggering 55 per cent of respondents do not feel confident to prevent cybercrime and only 25 per cent feel confident to resolve an attack.

Karen Wheeler, Vice President and Country Manager UK at Affinion comments: “Stories of malware, identify theft, data breaches and other forms of cybercrime are worryingly familiar and yet our research shows this does not mean that ordinary users of technology across the world are armed to defend themselves. Despite experts warning us about the importance of using multiple passwords and shopping on secure websites, there is still a staggering lack of awareness and confusion surrounding cybercrime.

“Consumers are looking for advice on how to protect themselves so that they can have confidence as they increasingly live their lives online but at the moment, they do not know who to turn to. There is an opportunity for businesses, with the required expertise, to get alongside their customers and provide insight, protection and support to combat cybercrime, and this involvement will not go unnoticed. We know from our own experience that those organisations that play a key role in the lives of their customers will be rewarded with greater engagement and loyalty – a highly-prized commodity in volatile and crowded markets.”

To read the full report visit: https://affinion.co.uk/insight/cybercrimesos/