Twelve percent of British internet users fell victim to online fraud last year, with around half of them losing out while shopping according to new research.

Some 2,441 survey respondents to the Internet Safety: The State of the Nation paper reported an average £875 loss in 2006.

Backed by government and industry, the Get Safe Online campaign's report said that meant fraud hit a total of 3.5m internet users.

Around 6% of all users were defrauded during online shopping sessions, 5% by other methods and 4% had their bank accounts compromised after their details were exposed online.

Awareness of basic security measures is one thing being blamed - around 17% of respondents had no antivirus software, and 22% no firewall.

Cabinet Office minister Pat McFadden said:

"We need users to take the same basic precautions in using the internet as they would when making transactions in the high street – such as not sharing your bank details or passwords.

"This survey shows that, although the internet offers great opportunities for people to carry out their business when and how they like, people must also take care if we are to stop criminals abusing greater popular use of the net."

Let's do the maths...

  • 12% of 29m (internet users) is around 3.5m.
  • 3.5m multiplied by the average loss of £875 is more than £3bn.
  • Fraud in the UK amounts to about £20bn a year, or roughly 1.5% of GDP. 
  • So online fraud is about 15% of total fraud in the UK, according to these figures.

Published 26 March, 2007 by Robert Andrews

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Comments (2)


alan j cannon

15th Jan 2008
I am a member the Times Crossword Club attached to and have been for several years. For the
last month after some maintenance work to the registration
procedure, access has became impossible by normal means and the service as advertised is non-existent. There have cursory claims that the website does work, will be working and everything is being done. This hasn't been forthcoming and to all appearances nothing is happening. The bulletin board which does work up to a point and is accessible testifies to the frustrations of the members. There is little or no effort to answer these grievances. In fact there are at least two posts which state that they have paid money in the last month to join the club but have not received the service promised and have not been informed as to what will happen. I think this constitutes fraud and the evidence for it is there for all to see. I am at loss as to who to approach to bring pressure to bear. If there are any humans reading this i would appreciate some guidance.
Yours alan j cannon

over 10 years ago


Avneet B

My name is Zork...I am an alien reading ur post, and I also am a member of the Mars Times Crossword Club. We had this problem last year and, i was forced to leave my planet and move to Earth, to join the Times Crossword Club.

However, they have recently fixed the problems, so I would seriously advise that you move to Mars and join the Mars Crossword Club as soon as is feasibly possible.

May the force be with you


over 10 years ago

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