Public 'complacent' over online securityMillions still not doing enough to stop net fraud

25 September 2006

A pair of credit cards and a mouse

Consumers are still not doing enough to protect themselves from online crooks despite a massive increase in ‘phishing', a banking industry body has revealed.

Figures from the Association of Payment and Clearing Services (Apacs) shows that the number of attempts to steal people's identity online has risen by 800 per cent in the last year.

Phishing involve crooks sending out emails that pretend to be from a bank or a genuine company operating on the internet.

The emails urge you to click on a link to a bogus website that may look like a bank’s genuine site. You're then asked to enter your personal security information which fraudsters can use to access bank accounts.

Phishing emails

But despite the increased threat, Apacs has found that millions of Britons who bank over the internet are ‘overly complacent’ when it comes to online security.

Its research has found that:

  • about half a million people would still respond to a phishing email
  • less than half of the UK’s 16 million online banking customers regularly update their anti-virus software
  • only one in ten people have anti-spam software installed and about a third have a firewall
  • just over one third record their password or security information by writing it down or storing it somewhere on their computer
  • nearly two thirds never change their password and one in five use the same password for non-banking websites as well as their online bank.

Apacs says that older users are the worst culprits when it comes to keeping security details private. About two thirds of older people never change their password and only half of those aged over 55 memorise their password without writing it down

Online fraud

Apacs Director of Corporate Communications Sandra Quinn said: ‘The internet has totally changed the way we shop and bank, and it’s very safe provided you remember two simple rules: use a secure PC and be wary of unsolicited emails.

‘This new research shows that some people still aren't doing all they should to protect themselves which, hand in hand with a large increase in phishing email attacks at the start of the year, leads us to expect an increase in online banking fraud losses in the first half of 2006.'

Which? has put together a report on how to protect your personal details online. It tells you what precautions to take when entering personal details into a website, how to make your internet browser work for you and how to protect yourself from spyware..