Almost 3.5 million people fell victim to internet fraud over the last year according to the latest research by the government and industry online safety campaign, Get Safe Online.
That works out at more than one-in-ten of the UK’s 29 million internet adult users.
The figures reveal that half of those who suffered fraud were shopping online and on average they lost £875 each.
The survey also found that 5 per cent experienced another form of general online fraud and 4 per cent were subject to bank account or credit card fraud as a result of activity online.
The report reveals that 93 per cent of internet users now use the web daily and that, on average, we each spend £1,044 per year buying goods and services on the web – equivalent to £30 billion for the UK online population as a whole.
But the Get Safe Online research says that if internet users took the same precautions online that they do on the high street, a substantial proportion of online fraud losses could be prevented.
Only 48 per cent of internet users feel they are responsible for their own online safety and 16 per cent believe their bank is wholly responsible for their online protection.
While 52 per cent of those surveyed said they took most care of their credit/ bank cards, just 9 per cent said they took most care to protect their website password.
Pat McFadden, Minister with responsibility for Transformational Government, said: ‘The internet is transforming how we get and use information. It is also helping us reform our public services around the needs of the individual.
‘However as we make more services available online so 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.’