Global survey reveals extent of online scams

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An international survey of online financial threats has found that 48% of consumers have been targeted by online scams designed to defraud and trick them into revealing sensitive and financial information for criminal gain. More than one in 10 has lost money as a result of being targeted online.

The research was conducted by security specialist Kaspersky Lab and market researcher B2B International, which canvassed over 12,355 consumers around the world. The results are published in a report entitled ‘Consumer Security Risks Survey: From Scared to Aware – Digital Lives in 2015’.

Almost half of Internet users encountered financial threats across the 12-month period surveyed. Threats included receiving suspicious emails that claimed to be from a bank (22%) or retail site (15%) and suspicious web pages asking for financial data (11%).

Among the financial threats experienced, 6% of respondents lost money due to online scams or fraud, 4% fell victim to data leakage and loss through a financial organisation and 3% have had cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin) or e-money funds stolen. In all, 11% of global users reported having money stolen from them online.

The research found that where money was stolen, victims suffered an estimated median loss of £195, although 22% lost at least £690/US$1,000. Only 54% of those affected by money loss managed to recover all of their stolen funds and 23% were unable to recover any of the loss.

“The variety of online financial threats against consumers is growing,” said Ross Hogan, global head of fraud prevention division at Kaspersky Lab. “Along with the more traditional-style scams, we are starting to see cybercriminals exploit and look for new ways to defraud consumers, making it even more important for Internet users to be on their guard when conducting online financial transactions or clicking on suspicious links pertaining to be from their bank. We are urging Internet users to use security software to protect themselves from these threats and secure themselves from the dangers of financial loss.

“While monetary loss as a result of a financial organisation data breach or cryptocurrency scam is still relatively low, it is a lucrative way for online fraudsters to target and steal money from Internet users. We are working with banks and financial institutions to ensure they have sufficient protection in place to, not only prevent such losses from occurring, but to maintain their reputation and customer trust. With new threats evolving every day, consumers expect their providers to keep up and ensure the safety of their money and financial transactions.”

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