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New study reveals how the pandemic has affected cybercrime

Mass home working has opened up opportunities for criminals, with the number of scams on the rise. Cybercriminals stole millions from businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, using time-tested tactics like phishing, social engineering, and other tools of the trade.

A new report by Fasthosts reveals the true cost of cybercrime during the pandemic by using compiled data from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). Based on the report, it’s revealed that since January 2021 there were 445,357 reported cases of cyber and fraudulent crimes targeting online businesses. The cost of these crimes is estimated to reach almost £3 billion in reported losses!

Top 3 types of UK cybercrime and fraud

The most common type of cybercrime in the UK comes in the form of online shopping and auctions. Specifically, based on the report there were almost 90,000 reported cases of online shopping fraud over the last 13 months. This comes as no surprise as the pandemic has shifted the online shopping behaviours with consumers choosing to accommodate their needs through digital channels.

The second most common type of reported cybercrime is advance fee fraud, where online victims were asked to pay an up-front fee for their purchase when in reality the product or service never existed. Lastly, according to the NFB, 6% of the total reported cybercrime scams in the past 13 months were bank scams in the form of cheque, plastic cards and online bank accounts.

Who’s most affected by cybercrime

Most businesses were forced to carry out an abrupt digital transformation due to the health crisis in 2020 to ensure they were protected and continued functioning. Based on a study carried out by Statista, the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation for businesses by 36% worldwide and 39% in the UK.

Based on the report 87% of the reported cybercrime cases were aimed at individuals whereas 13% affected organisations. Specifically, consumers falling into the 20-29 and 30-39 age categories were affected more than others. On the contrary, based on the research those in the older age ranges reported half as many cases as the younger age groups.

Michelle Stark, Sales, and Marketing Director at Fasthosts comments: ‘‘The pandemic significantly affected both businesses and individuals. It led to a dramatic shift in consumer behaviour, as many purchases that were normally made in-person were forced online. As a consequence of this rapid digitisation, there was an immediate greater need for online security measures and vigilant risk management from businesses.

Whilst behaviours and attitudes are shifting back to the way they were pre-pandemic, we’re unlikely to see a full return to the world pre-COVID. Despite the immense disruption it brought, the pandemic gave a newfound opportunity for strategic investment, particularly into digital channels. Many businesses have now already pivoted to meet this new consumer demand, but it will require extra care from both businesses and consumers to minimise the risk of becoming victims of cybercrime.”

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