Safe and secure survey

How safe and secure are British adults from online fraud?

Find out how safe the British public are online

Our survey looks at the British public’s online security behaviours, their attitudes to staying safe online and their knowledge of common scams. So who is most likely to share their online banking password?

Brits are more concerned with online fraud than burglary

While people are worried about online fraud, many could be doing more to prevent it.

Half (50%) of British adults online say they are concerned they’ll be a victim of online fraud in the next 12 months. In comparison, only 33% were worried about their home being burgled.

Over half of British adults (51%) destroy receipts from their online accounts. Retirees are the most mindful of this, with 68% destroying receipts compared to just 26% of full-time students.

56% of British adults online say there should be additional layers of security on social platforms as standard. Only 8% of people think there is no need to add any additional layers of security.

The research suggests people might be more trusting of their laptop than their smartphone. Four out of five British adults (80%) feel secure entering their bank details on a website from a laptop or computer, but only 52% feel comfortable doing this on a tablet or smartphone app.

What the professionals say

We spoke to Tony Neate, the CEO of Get Safe Online, to get his thoughts on the findings: 

“With a greater dependence on the internet and more of our lives taking place online, it’s unsurprising that there are considerable concerns about online fraud. Fraudsters are constantly thinking of new ways to trick us, whether through online shopping, online banking or ID theft. It’s important we stay clued up and keep learning more about fraud and the simple measures we can use to protect ourselves.”

Younger people are more likely to share their data with brands or people they know online. 

Young people (18 to 24) are over twice as likely to feel comfortable sharing their data with brands online than those 55 and over. 50% of those between 18 and 24 are happy to share data compared to just 22% of those aged 55+.

84% of those aged 18 to 24 are comfortable sharing personal information with people they know online. This was much lower for those aged 55 and over, with only 50% willing to do the same.

Young people (18 to 24) are generally more willing to share personal information when talking online with friends than those 55 and over. For example, 69% of 18 to 24s are willing to share their date of birth compared to just 30% of those over 55.

Brits are generally wary, with only 15% willing to share their mother's maiden name when talking online with a friend.

The fact that young people are less cautious of what they share online comes as no surprise to Tony:  “We know first-hand that younger people practice less online safety hygiene.

Our research shows that under 25s are more than twice as susceptible to phishing scams as those over 55, so it’s no surprise that a higher proportion of young people are also more willing to share their personal data.”

There are gaps in people’s knowledge of online security that could be putting them at risk.

Nearly a quarter (22%) of British adults say they wouldn't know what to do if they were experiencing online security problems.

Full-time students are amongst the least knowledgeable groups, with just over a third (34%) not knowing what to do if they were having security problems.

Over a quarter (28%) of British adults with a bank account have no knowledge of the steps their bank takes to protect their details.

22% of British adults don’t have security software installed because they don't know which ones are best.

Find out what vishing, phishing and smishing scams are and how you can avoid them. 

If you think your account has been affected by fraud, Tony recommends contacting your bank as soon as possible: “If you suspect you’ve been a victim of an online security breach involving your account, you should contact your bank straight away.

There are several steps you can take depending on what sort of problem you are facing. For further information and advice, visit Get Safe Online.

To report a fraud crime to the police, visit the Action Fraud site.

People are far more likely to share their passwords and pin codes than you might expect. 

Nearly one in ten (9%) of British adults online with a bank account have shared their banking passwords with someone before.

Young people are the most trusting with their bank details. More than one in ten (13%) of 18 to 24s shared their online banking password with someone, either verbally or online.

Brits are a little wary of their browsers, with 47% choosing not to save passwords in internet browsers for their online accounts.

Almost three in five British adults online aren’t password savvy, with 59% using one password for multiple accounts.

Over two-thirds of British adults with a bank account are careful when withdrawing money, with 68% covering their pin when using an ATM.

Tony explains that you should be careful when sharing your details with anyone: “It’s important to never share your bank details, whether it be a password, PIN code, sort code or account number with anyone online – even if you know who it is, but especially when you don’t. Banks, for instance, will never send you emails asking you to divulge such information.

Any communication from banks will use your actual name (not ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’) and possibly another verification of authenticity such as your postcode or part of your account number. If you are unsure if some correspondence is genuine, contact your bank via other means.” 

Although many people have fallen victim to online fraud, it’s not necessarily the groups we’d expect.

16% of respondents say that they have personally experienced online fraud. Online fraud is most common in Wales and the North West where a fifth (20%) of respondents in each area have experienced this type of fraud. 

Despite almost half (46%) of respondents believing those over 66 are most at risk of being a victim of online fraud, the most common age groups to have experienced online fraud are those between 35 and 54, with almost one in five having had an experience (19%).

8% of British adults online say that they have been a victim of phishing, smishing or vishing.

Tony says that knowing what to look for is key to protecting yourself from fraud: “While online fraud is common, it becomes less so when you engage common sense. It is very easy to clone a real website and does not take a skilled developer long to produce a very professional-looking but malicious site, but if you know what to look for, it’s easy to stay safe.”

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