New research by internet safety initiative Get Safe Online shows that one in five victims of cyber crime thinks that they were specifically targeted by fraudsters and over a third of victims had been left feeling vulnerable as a result.

The survey reveals that over a quarter of victims (26%) had been scammed by phishing emails or ‘vishing’ phone calls. These are a much more targeted type of scam where the fraudster uses data about the victim pieced together from various sources such as social media and intercepted correspondence to sound convincing, and manipulates them into sharing confidential information linked to online accounts.

Other areas where victims were targeted include:

  • Fake tax rebate emails (13%)
  • Phone/tablet/laptop hacking (9%)
  • Identity theft (5%)
  • Cyber bullying or harassment (4%)
  • Personal images stolen via webcam hacking (1%).

The research also indicated that people still struggle with basic safety precautions, as almost two thirds (65%) claim they could do more to stay safe online.

Crime figures released last week by the Office for National Statistics revealed that more than seven million incidents of fraud and cyber crime were committed in England and Wales over the past year.

Now in its tenth year, the aim of Get Safe Online Week is to educate, inform and raise awareness of online security issues to make sure consumers and small businesses can use the internet safely and confidently.

Lucy Hastings, Director for Victim Support said: “Cyber-enabled crime is one of the fastest growing crimes in the UK and across the globe. Crimes such as fraud, online grooming, revenge porn and terrorist activity pose a threat to every facet of our society.

“It is therefore essential that the growing number of victims devastated by these crimes have the appropriate emotional and practical support needed to help them rebuild their lives.”
Tony Neate, Chief Executive of Get Safe Online, comments:

“As we spend more of our lives online, our digital footprints inevitably get bigger. Sadly, that means opportunist fraudsters will use information about us to make their scams more believable and difficult to detect. Being online offers so many great opportunities for everyone and we would never discourage anyone from enjoying and benefiting from them. However, we do urge people to take precautions so they don’t make themselves vulnerable to underhanded scammers.

There are simple steps we can all take to protect ourselves online, including putting a password on any of your connected devices such as your phone or tablet, using the highest security settings on your social media accounts and never disclosing your confidential details when you are contacted by an email or on the phone, a legitimate organisation would never ask you to do this.

Get Safe Online Week runs from 19-25 October 2015. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #GetSafeOnline and follow @getsafeonline for updates. For more information on Get Safe Online Week, please visit: