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Scale and impact of online fraud revealed in UK

Nearly half of the participants in the study (46%) said they had been personally drawn in by an online scam, while two in five (39%) knew someone else who had fallen victim.

A quarter of those who said they’d encountered online scams had lost money as a result (25%) – with a fifth (21%) being scammed out of £1,000 or more.

More than a third (34%) of all victims also reported that the experience had an immediate negative impact on their mental health, increasing to nearly two-thirds (63%) among those who had lost money.

Online scams and fraud – the personal cost
Today’s report is one of a series of research studies to help inform our preparations for implementing new online safety laws.

Building on our experience and understanding of tackling telecoms scams, the study explores people’s experiences of online fraud, including the practical and emotional impact. The research finds, among other things, that:

  • Men (89%), younger adults aged 18-34 (92%) and people with children in the household (93%) are significantly more likely than average (87%) to say they have encountered online content that they suspected to be a scam or fraudulent;
  • Among those who had experienced an online scam or fraud, nearly a quarter (23%) first encountered it on social media – the second most common channel after email. (30%).
  • Impersonation fraud (51%) was the most common type experienced, followed by counterfeit goods scams (42%), investment, pension or ‘get rich quick’ scams (40%) and computer software service or ransomware scams (37%).
  • Potential victims were most commonly contacted via a direct message, or a mass message posted to a group (46%). A fifth were reached through online advertisements (20%), while others were targeted through user-generated and influencer posts or videos (6% and 4% respectively).
  • Among those who suffered financial loss from any type of scam, two in five (42%) lost between £1 and £99, while one in five (21%) lost £1,000 or more. Those who encounter counterfeit goods scams were most likely to have lost money (40%).
  • A significant minority (17%) of those who experienced a potential scam or fraud online didn’t take any action at all. Of these, most thought that their report wouldn’t be acted upon or make a difference, or they didn’t know who to inform (29% respectively).

CT Bureau

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