New online research reveals a lack of awareness among adults of where to go for advice on protecting themselves online, or where they should turn to if they become a victim of fraud.
The National Audit Office recently reported that government funding of £20m had been allocated in 2014/15 to drive engagement and awareness of the cyber threat among SMEs and individuals. Despite this investment, when given a list of UK organisations and campaigns linked to cybercrime support and education, only 13% of British adults were aware of GetSafeOnline.org and 84% did not notice any promotion of Safer Internet Day 2016 when it was advertised in February 2016.
In addition, the major government push behind Cyber Streetwise seems to have failed with only 6% recognising the name (in the over 55s, awareness drops to 3%). In the online survey conducted by YouGov, respondent’s awareness of other organisations and campaigns were as follows:
o Citizens Advice (88%, 95% in the over 55s)
o The Information Commissioner’s Office (17%)
o Action Fraud (16%)
o Financial Fraud Action UK (7%)
o #SaveGelly (0.3%)
In a separate YouGov survey, when asked specifically about the role of Cifas, 33% of respondents that were aware of the organisation were able to correctly identify its purpose.
People are certainly aware that their personal information is at risk, with 19% of men and 23% of women stating they had stopped using an online service because they were concerned their data could be at risk of identity fraud.
These findings come as CSID Europe releases a white paper on “The Industrialisation of The Cyber Threat” which examines the scale of the UK cybercrime threat and questions the hap hazard way that identity fraud is reported.
Commenting on the findings Andy Thomas, managing director of CSID in Europe, said: “Cybercrime is going through its own industrial revolution – the barriers to entry are disappearing. Tools are automating the process and costs have plummeted: getting started in cybercrime has become child’s play.
“Our findings show that the Government, police, anti-fraud organisations and business leaders must face facts: the existing response to educating and protecting consumers at risk of cybercrime is uncoordinated, ill-informed and utterly ineffective. Many valiant attempts have been made to help consumers, but they are not gaining the traction needed. Yet with 88% of people recognising Citizens Advice there lies an untapped and trusted organisation, part of the UK social fabric, that with the right support and funding could be the backbone of consumer advice and support.”
While people may have a limited understanding of the organisations that can help them, many are concerned about the risks of handing over personal information online, with 67% saying they are at least fairly concerned about the risks of identity fraud when using online services, with 21% of these being very concerned. The survey found that concern declines with age, with only 52% of 18-24 year olds saying they are at least fairly concerned compared with 77% of 55+ year olds.
Andy Thomas added: “Greater education among consumers is needed, not only on the risks, but on the places that can help them be safer online, and act quickly when a data breach occurs or they suspect fraud. That is a responsibility that falls to the whole industry, not just the Government. We can all do more to inform and educate.”