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Bracknell, UK – People are worrying about the financial risks of online scams as the cost of living crisis grows, according to a new social media poll run by Menlo Security, a leader in cloud security. When asked what their biggest fear is about online scammers, over half of respondents (55%) are concerned about their money being stolen, compared to less than a quarter who worry about their identity being stolen.
The poll explores the degree of trust that consumers have in their digital lives as the number of online scams continues to rise during increasingly challenging economic times. Figures from UK Finance show that more than £1.3bn was stolen from victims tricked into authorised push payment fraud (APP) in 2021, with the number of incidents up 27% on the previous year. APP fraud involves criminals impersonating organisations such as the NHS, banks and government departments via phone calls, texts, emails, fake websites and social media posts to trick people into handing over their personal and financial information that was then used to convince account holders to make a payment.
Spending online, which often involves entering confidential financial details, is a particular concern in Menlo’s poll as many face the prospect of a struggle to make ends meet. Online shopping fraud dominates the list of scams with 44% of respondents worrying about this the most, ahead of phishing emails (27%), social media scams (17%) and catfishing or online dating (13%).
When asked about the most recent scam message they’d received, 40% of respondents say it appeared to be from a postal or delivery company, while more than a third (37%) say it appeared to be from a public sector source, such as HMRC, the Government or the NHS. These fraudulent sources were much more frequent than banks or utility providers (16%), or friends and family (7%).
It is perhaps no surprise then that people trust friends and family (51%) more than anyone else for online security advice. More so than work colleagues (21%) and news sources (15%). Official sources like the Government and other authorities are the least trusted – with just 13% of votes.
Tom McVey Solution Architect, Menlo Security, comments: “It’s human instinct to warn others about dangers, especially if a friend or family member has been a target of an attack themselves – and many of us have been. Perhaps this is the reason that we trust friends and family over any other authority when it comes to security advice. With threat actors trying any tactic that exploits the trust we hold in the services or businesses that they impersonate this caution is understandable. But as individuals, we also need to be taking greater prevention steps to secure ourselves in the first place.”
Reassuringly, the survey found that almost a third of people now use two factor authentication as the main way of protecting themselves online. This may be due to the vast majority of banks and retailers now requiring a second form of authorisation like a passcode and are driving this uptake. But the other results were split almost equally, with around a quarter using other forms of protection, including deleting suspicious links, using virus protection and creating strong passwords.
Menlo’s Tom McVey adds: “Prevention tactics are an important way of stopping attacks in their tracks before they have an opportunity to reach you. Password security and virus protection can help, but they don’t stop you from being a target. A far more effective method is through isolation technology, which essentially wraps a secure bubble around you whilst using any web browser.
“Cybercrime continues to rise in nearly every guise. Phishing attacks happen regularly, they are only getting more sophisticated, and they are profitable. It’s clear that whilst our trust in the internet and those that serve us online is being tested, we need to arm ourselves with the knowledge and tools to ensure that spending time online is as safe and secure as possible.”
Drawing 10,384 responses, the Menlo Security Twitter poll was conducted during the week of 3 October 2022.
Menlo Security protects organisations from cyberattacks by eliminating the threat of malware from the web, documents, and email. Menlo Security’s isolation-powered cloud security platform scales to provide comprehensive protection across enterprises of any size, without requiring endpoint software or impacting the end user-experience. Menlo Security is trusted by major global businesses, including Fortune 500 companies, eight of the ten largest global financial services institutions, and large governmental institutions. Menlo Security is backed by Vista Equity Partners, Neuberger Berman, General Catalyst, American Express Ventures, Ericsson Ventures, HSBC, and JP Morgan Chase. Menlo Security is headquartered in Mountain View, California. www.menlosecurity.com.
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