Half of adults have been drawn in by an online scam survey finds

A quarter of UK adults drawn in by an online scam have lost money as a result according to a new study by regulator Ofcom. 

The research on online fraud surveyed over 2,000 UK residents, finding that 87% of them had come across content they suspected to be a scam or fraud online with nearly half being drawn in by one and a fifth of those who had losing £1,000 or more. 

Men, young adults and those with children in the household were most likely to have encountered an online scam with emails and social media being the most common channels. 

graphical user interface

Ofcom’s work into understanding online scams comes as the Online Safety Bill is going through parliament, it would give the regulator new powers to ensure that digital platforms comply with new regulations around keeping users safe online. 

Richard Wronka, Ofcom’s Director of Online Safety Policy, said: ‘Falling victim to online fraud can have a devastating impact on people’s financial and mental well-being. 

‘The Online Safety Bill will place new obligations on online services to protect their users against online fraud and scams. Today’s report provides crucial evidence that will help to inform our approach to implementing those new laws when they arrive.’ 

Alongside asking about the prevalence of scams, the survey also asked about expectations of protection with 61% of respondents saying that online tech firms should have a responsibility for taking action against online scams and fraud. 

Only half of people felt that users themselves should be responsible, the same amount also attributed responsibility to the police and thought that an online alert for content not from a verified user would be helpful. 

The most common type of scam was impersonation fraud, followed by counterfeit goods scams and pension or ‘get rich quick’ schemes. 

Earlier this year a government report found that there was a significant increase in the number of Brits that don’t feel safe online though most believed that digital tech had improved their lives overall. 

Photo by Growtika


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