The UK lost almost £11bn to cyber criminals in the past year, figures suggest. The latest figure equates to approximately £210 per person over the age of 16 living in the UK, but is only based on incidents registered with the national reporting centre Action Fraud, Get Safe Online and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) said.
A survey suggests the actual figure could be much higher, with respondents who had been victims of online crime losing an average of £523 each.
More than a third of those who said they had been victims of online crime (39 per cent) said they had not reported the incident, meaning the overall amount lost in the UK could be even more, Get Safe Online said.
The survey found more than half (53 per cent) had received fraudulent emails or messages which attempted to direct them to websites where their personal information could have been stolen and 28 per cent said they had been contacted by someone who was trying to trick them into giving away personal information.
A tenth had had their email or social media accounts hacked.
Of those who said they had been a victim of cybercrime, more than a third (38 per cent) believed that the matter was too trivial to report and 37 per cent said they felt there was nothing that could be done.
Get Safe Online chief executive Tony Neate said: “The fact that the UK is losing nearly £11 billion to cyber criminals is frightening and highlights the need for each and every one of us to make sure we are taking our online safety seriously. It is clear from our survey that people are very concerned, and rightly so.”
“Let's not let cyber criminals get away with it anymore by ensuring that each and every one of us is updating the operating systems of our various devices and ensuring security software is always updated. What's more we all need to ensure that we have a different password for each online account we own and website we visit. Online safety needs to be part of our everyday routines.”
The national lead for economic crime Commander Chris Greany said: “The huge financial loss to cybercrime hides the often harrowing human stories that destroy lives and blights every community in the UK.
“All of us need to ask ourselves are we doing everything we can to protect ourselves from online criminals. Unfortunately, people still click on links in unsolicited emails and fail to update their security software.
“Just as you wouldn't leave your door unlocked, so you shouldn't leave yourself unprotected online.”
Get Safe Online said people should review their passwords to make sure they are strong and not use the same ones for more than one account, check social media privacy settings, update operating systems and software programs or apps if prompted, back up information using the cloud and check that internet security software and apps are up to date and switched on.