Digital Safety - The Great British Fraud Fightback

  • Security , Security
  • 08.05.2017 03:00 pm

Barclays is spearheading a new £10m nationwide drive to increase the public’s awareness of financial fraud risks, and help them to stay safe in the digital age with information, tools and tips.

This major initiative is being launched as latest crime figures show 5.6m fraud and cyber offences in the UK making up half of all recorded crime, and costing the UK £11bn*.  Yet, these numbers could be even higher as new Barclays research reveals a quarter of people in the UK (25 percent) have experienced a cyber-fraud or scam in the past three years, 18 per cent of them more than once, suggesting that many cyber-crimes go unreported.

The new national Digital Safety Index survey, released today, also shows that:

  • London, Bristol, and Birmingham are the scam capitals in the UK, with the largest gaps in public resilience.
  • London and Bristol also top the tables for the most reported cases of fraud, with Manchester joining them in the top three.
  • Newcastle reported fewer cases of fraud and scams, while Liverpool reported a particularly high number of impersonation scams.
  • Highly-educated Londoners (Masters degree and above), aged 25-34 are the UK’s most vulnerable group, with men slightly more at risk than women.
  • Younger people (25-34 year olds) are twice as likely to be victims of online fraud than older generations, putting to bed the notion that older people are more at risk of being “duped” by cyber criminals.
  • Nearly a fifth (17 per cent) of people who have been a victim of a fraud or scam take no action to boost their digital defences as a result.
  • Only 17 per cent of people in the UK can correctly identify basic digital threats such as social media messages intended to trick users into sharing personal details or downloading malware.

Barclays UK CEO is calling for the public, police and businesses across the UK to unite and tackle this growing issue of public concern. 

Under the new Digital Safety drive:

  • In a UK high street bank first, Barclays is giving customers new levels of control over when and where and how their debit card works, offering customers the choice to instantly turn ‘on’ and ‘off’ whether their card can be used to make remote purchases, and even set their own daily ATM withdrawal limits on their Barclays Mobile Banking app. 
  • A new online quiz is available to everyone in the UK from today. By answering simple questions people can assess their own digital safety level, and receive useful tips on how to strengthen their defences at Barclays aims to help at least 3m people to boost their digital safety levels by using the test.
  • A new £10m national advertising campaign is being launched across national TV, print, online and billboards. It will alert people to the risk of fraud unless they take proper precautions, and will include content targeted towards younger people and in urban areas.
  • Barclays will be hosting regular fraud awareness takeovers on its online and mobile banking sites, prioritising fraud prevention over products.
  • Barclays’ nationwide force of 17,000 Digital Eagles will provide digital safety teach-ins to people, and free support clinics for the 1million UK SMEs we serve. Barclays LifeSkills is also launching new Digital Safety learning content specifically designed for younger people.
  • Barclays is also leading industry efforts to prevent instances where customers are duped into withdrawing all their cash from branches and handing it to a scammer posing as a trusted person, through a new police hotline for branch colleagues to call.

Ashok Vaswani, Chief Executive of Barclays UK, said:

“Fraud is often wrongly described as an invisible crime, but the effects are no less damaging to people’s lives. As a society our confidence in using digital technology to shop, pay our bills and connect with others has grown faster than our knowledge of how to do so safely. This has created a ‘digital safety gap’ which is being exploited by criminals. I believe the need to fight fraud has now become a national resilience issue, and we all need to boost our digital safety levels in order to close the gap.

“That is why we are launching this new national campaign on digital safety, and we will do all in our power to arm people with the tools and information they need. But we also need to support and encourage the public to take action to protect themselves, such as changing passwords regularly. They can take the first step by completing our new free online quiz and discover how to boost their defences.

“I want to help make digital safety as commonplace as locking your front door. I want businesses, the police and the public to unite and stand shoulder to shoulder together so that we can block and frustrate the bad guys at every turn.”

Laura Flack, Barclays Head of Digital Safety, said:

“Each one of us probably knows someone who fallen victim to a criminal fraudster. Crooks are using ever more sophisticated tactics to trick people into handing over their bank details, or to pay money to a fraudster when they believe they are simply paying their builder or solicitor.

“It’s alarming that younger people and those in cities are more at risk. We need to super-charge our digital know-how and talk to our friends and relatives to prevent these crimes from happening. Often staying safe isn’t rocket science. A few practical steps and a dose of vigilance can boost your safety immeasurably. Remember if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Barclays estimates that if people implemented these three top tips we could help to cut levels of fraud by up to 75 percent

1.                   Never give out your full Online Banking PIN, Passcode or Password to anyone, even a caller claiming to be from the police or your bank.

2.                   Do not click on any link or open an attachment on any e-mail you receive which is unsolicited.

3.                   Avoid letting someone you do not know have access to your computer, especially remotely.

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