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One online fraud victim every seven seconds

28th June 2010

Web users are being warned to protect themselves against online fraud after a new report revealed that someone falls victim to cyber-fraud every seven seconds in the UK.

Life assistance company CPP estimates that Brits were targeted by 3.7billion phishing emails in the last year alone. A quarter went on to fall victim to e-fraudsters, with the average victim losing more than £285 each.

Fake banking emails

The report found that fake banking emails are the most commonly used methods by online fraudsters, as 55% of people who have been targeted by fraudsters online received bogus correspondence pretending to be from high street banks.

Other online scams

Over half received emails about false lottery or competition prize draws and one in two have been targeted by foreign scams such as the Nigerian 419 advance fee scam. One in five British people have received fake Facebook messages claiming to be from friends or family.

Online fraud prevention tips

The CPP has released some top tips to help people reduce the chance of falling victim to online fraud:

• install anti-virus protection which scans for viruses
• install anti-phishing tools which identify phishing emails that trick users into giving away personal information
• install an active firewall, which updates and upgrades automatically, preventing hackers from gaining access to your PC or laptop
• keep your personal information safe. If someone asks for your personal details online ask yourself why they would need them
• be aware that banks will never ask for your personal information online
• if you are unsure whether an email is genuine, ring your bank and ask them
• if you store personal information on your PC, install up-to-date security software
• remember the golden rule: identity thieves are experts at spotting an opportunity to steal your identity and all they need are a few personal details
• on social networking sites, keep your privacy settings set to friends only and never display your address, phone number or date of birth.

Read more about the CPP’s report on the CPP’s website.

Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.

To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.

Related links:
Bank fraud - including advice on how to stay safe when banking online
Lottery and competition scams
419 emails or letters - also known as the Nigerian or West African phishing scam