Cybercrime now feels more of a threat than physical crime for a rising number of households across England and Wales, with more people either falling victim personally, or knowing someone who has been a victim of online theft
According to research from over 14,000 people, over a third (34%) believe cybercrime is now a bigger threat than physical crime, and half (50%) think the threat level is similar. A fifth (20 per cent) have been a victim of cybercrime personally. Four in ten (38 per cent) know at least one person who has fallen victim to cybercrime with an additional 33% having heard about it happening to people they don’t know. Half of those that took part in the study are over 65 indicating this as a serious issue for an age group traditionally less knowledgeable on technology and sometimes more isolated socially.
Those surveyed who have been a victim of cybercrime have experienced both financial and data loss, as well as emotional distress. In terms of financial impact, over a third (36%) lost money and of them, almost a third (29%) lost more than a £1,000. The majority of these crimes were kept secret by the victims with only 30% reporting it to the police. Sadly, 5% felt they couldn’t tell anyone with over a third (34%) feeling foolish and embarrassed, and 36% left feeling very upset.
As a result of the fears that have come from the research, Neighbourhood Watch have unveiled a new partnership with Avast, a global leader in cybersecurity, called ‘Cyberhood Watch’ to help protect 2.3 million households across England and Wales.
The Cyberhood Watch programme initiative is a response to the growing challenge that cybercrime poses to local communities who often don’t have a ready resource for information on keeping themselves safe from the latest scams. The research highlighted a general lack of confidence in talking about cybercrime experiences within the community, and in understanding the best methods of online protection, in particular for more vulnerable members of the population.
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