Three quarters of consumers ill-equipped to handle cybercrime

Three quarters of consumers ill-equipped to handle cybercrime
15.03.2019 07:15 am

Three quarters of consumers ill-equipped to handle cybercrime


A staggering 75 per cent of consumers would not know what to do if they fell victim to cybercrime. According to the Affinion Cybercrime SOS report, despite high levels of concern and awareness, there is widespread confusion about where the lines of responsibility fall and who to turn to. 

The study, which explores attitudes to some of the newest crimes of our age, highlights huge gaps in understanding. In the case of experiencing fraudulent transactions, 73 per cent say banks are responsible for resolving issues, 25 per cent would take responsibility themselves and 31 per cent would turn to the police. In contrast, when it comes to identity theft, the majority (40%) expect the police to resolve the issue, followed by bank/credit card providers (36%). 

As well as confusion over what to do if targeted, consumers are also in the dark about prevention. More than half (55%) of people surveyed don’t feel confident to prevent cybercrime and most people have not moved beyond basic security measures. Only 16 per cent have access to identity fraud protection; 17 per cent to a credit report subscription and 30 per cent to a password manager. Even the simplest forms of technology security are not universally adopted – a third (31%) of respondents do not employ any software protection and only 58 per cent have access to a firewall, suggesting that many consumers are extremely vulnerable when it comes to resisting cybercrime. 

The research suggests that consumers are happy to take day-to-day responsibility for managing their digital lives but if a cybercrime like ID theft occurs, they would prefer to hand the situation over to experts. Only one in three (35%) are interested in learning how to resolve an issue if they fall victim, whereas more would like to learn how to prevent (50%) or detect it (45%). Sixty-five per cent of people do not want to be personally responsible for handling an incident instead preferring to delegate to an organisation that understands the complexities of cybercrime. When incidents have happened, 39 per cent credit their bank with resolving the issue and this has boosted brand perception. 

Karen Wheeler, Vice President and Country Manager UK at Affinion, comments: “With the numbers of victims constantly rising, it won’t be long before we all know someone who has been affected by cybercrime. Despite this, our research uncovers a staggering array of confusion - many respondents simply do not know who to turn to if they fall victim. Furthermore, organisations such as the police or legal professionals often do not have the time, skills or inclination to deal with the aftermath of different types of cyber incident. Every day that passes when a consumer doesn’t get help, is an extra day that the criminals can wreak havoc, sharing personal data and information far and wide and compounding the financial impact of the crimes.

“Against this backdrop, there is a clear opportunity for businesses to step in and provide clarity and expertise. Consumers are looking for support, information and additional protection services and they are inclined to trust financial institutions to navigate this emerging field of crime.

Companies that take on this mantle will be rewarded with appreciation, emotional engagement and brand loyalty that elevates their position in customer’s lives.”

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