Millions Snared in Web Fraud

Jun 16, 2010, 02:58 ET from The CPPGroup Plc

YORK, England, June 16, 2010 /PRNewswire/ --

- Cybercrime Victim Every 7 Seconds in the UK(1)

More than 420,000 scam emails are sent every hour in the UK according to a report published today (2).

The study from life assistance company CPP (http://www.cpp.co.uk) estimates that Brits were targeted by 3.7 billion 'phishing' emails in the last 12 months alone (3). And a quarter of us admit to falling victim to e-fraudsters, with the average victim losing over GBP285 each (4).

Fake banking emails are the most common method used by criminals, with 55 per cent of those targeted receiving seemingly legitimate e-correspondence from high street banks. Over half received false lottery or competition prize draws, while a further one in two was targeted by foreign cons such as the renowned "Nigerian 419 advance fee fraud" scam.

And consumers must take caution, as latest industry figures show that online banking fraud rose by 14 per cent in the last 12 months. (5) In fact, nearly half of Brits (46 per cent) worry their card details could be used to make illegal online purchases.

Fraudsters are also exploiting the explosion of social networking sites and current defaults in privacy settings to target victims. Nearly one fifth of Brits have received phoney Facebook messages claiming to be from friends or family. One in 10 fear that fraudsters are using Twitter to follow them and a third are concerned their social networking account could be hacked.

It seems that anyone - no matter their level of expertise - can fall prey. Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web fell foul to fraud after buying Christmas gifts online, which failed to show up. Movie-star Salma Hayek had her Apple MobileMe account attacked, and not even politicians are immune ­- Ed Milliband's Twitter account was infiltrated by hackers who posted details of a fictitious sex life.

Commenting on the report, Nicole Sanders, identity fraud expert at CPP (http://www.cpp.co.uk) said: "It seems that not a day goes by without a new case of online fraud hitting the headlines. But what's concerning is that consumers are still falling victim.

"Fraudsters are becoming ever more skilled in their techniques and tactics. It can be extremely difficult to spot a legitimate email from a scam, so we advise caution at all times when online. And as social networking sites become increasingly popular, people need to continue to be mindful of what they post. Their identity is as valuable to a thief as a credit card, so protecting personal details is key."

Robert Schifreen, reformed computer hacker advises: "Staying safe online is easy if you follow some basic precautions. Never type your credit card number, password, or any other confidential information into a web site unless its address begins with https and your browser displays the 'closed padlock' symbol. These indicate that the site is safe and that your data is encrypted. Also, make sure your antivirus software subscription is up to date and that your computer is configured to automatically download protective software."

CPP (http://www.cpp.co.uk) top tips to reduce the chances of falling victim to online fraud:

    - Install anti-virus protection which scans for viruses

    - Install anti-phishing tools which identify phishing emails that trick
      users into giving away personal information

    - Install an active firewall, which updates and upgrades automatically,
      preventing hackers from gaining access to your PC or laptop

    - Keep your personal information safe. If someone asks for your personal
      details online ask yourself why they would need them

    - Be aware that banks will never ask for your personal information
      online. If you are unsure whether an email is genuine, ring your bank
      and ask them

    - If you store personal information on your PC, install up-to-date
      security software

    - Remember the golden rule: identity thieves are experts at spotting an
      opportunity to steal your identity and all they need are a few personal
      details

    - On social networking sites, keep your privacy settings set to friends
      only and never display your address, phone number or date of birth

Notes to Editors

(1) According to the latest figures from ONS (2009) 37.4 million adults have access to the Internet (76% of the population). According to the consumer research commissioned by CPP, 26% of Brits have fallen victim to online fraud with 48% of these in the last 12 months. 37,400,000 x 0.26 x 0.48 = 4,667,520 online victims in the last year. Divided by 365 this amounts to 12787 victims a day. Divided by 24 works out as 532 victims an hour. Divided by 60 works out as 8.88 victims a minute. 60 divided by 8.88 = 6.7, which means one online victim every 7 seconds.

(2) According to the latest figures from ONS (2009) 37.4 million adults have access to the Internet (76% of the population). According to the consumer research commissioned by CPP, 75% of Brits have received fraudulent emails/ Internet messages in the past 12 months. The average number of fraudulent emails is suspected to be 11 per month or 132 a year. 37,400,000 x 132 x 0.75 = 3,702,600,000 = over 3.7 billion. Divided by 365 (days), divided by 24 (hours) = 422,671 fraudulent emails per hour

(3) According to the latest figures from ONS (2009) 37.4 million adults have access to the Internet (76% of the population). According to the consumer research commissioned by CPP, 75% of Brits have received fraudulent emails/Internet messages in the past 12 months. The average number of fraudulent emails is suspected to be 11 per month or 132 a year. 37,400,000 x 132 x 0.75 = 3,702,600,000 = over 3.7 billion fraudulent emails per year

(4) According to the latest figures from ONS (2009) 37.4 million adults have access to the Internet (76% of the population). According to the consumer research commissioned by CPP, 26% of Brits have fallen victim to online fraud with 48% in the last 12 months, and the average sum lost is GBP289. 37,400,000 x 0.26 x 0.48 x 289 = 1,348,913,280 = over 1.3 billion in online fraud losses.

(5) Figures from Financial Fraud Action report: 'Fraud - The Facts' 2009

Research Methodology

Research was carried out online by ResearchNow among 2,007 UK adults between 23 and 30 April 2010.

The CPPGroup Plc

The CPPGroup Plc (CPP) is an international marketing services business offering bespoke customer management solutions to multi-sector business partners designed to enhance their customer revenue, engagement and loyalty, whilst at the same time reducing cost to deliver improved profitability.

This is underpinned by the delivery of a portfolio of complementary Life Assistance products, designed to help our mutual customers cope with the anxieties associated with the challenges and opportunities of everyday life.

Whether our customers have lost their wallets, been a victim of identity fraud or looking for lifestyle perks, CPP can help remove the hassle from their lives leaving them free to enjoy life. Globally, our Life Assistance products and services are designed to simplify the complexities of everyday living whether these affect personal finances, home, travel, personal data or future plans. When it really matters, Life Assistance enables people to live life and worry less.

Established in 1980, CPP has 10 million customers and more than 200 business partners across Europe, North America and Asia and employs 1,900 employees who handle millions of sales and service conversations each year.

In 2009, Group revenue was GBP292.1 million, an increase of more than 12 per cent over the previous year.

In March 2010, CPP debuted on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

What We Do:

CPP provides a range of assistance products and services that allow our business partners to forge closer relationships with their customers.

    We have a solution for many eventualities, including:

    - Insuring our customers' mobile phones against loss, theft and damage

    - Protecting the payment cards in our customers' wallets and purses,
      should these be lost or stolen

    - Providing assistance and protection if a customer's keys are lost or
      stolen

    - Providing advice, insurance and assistance to protect customers against
      the insidious crime of identity fraud

    - Assisting customers with their travel needs be it an emergency (for
      example lost passport), or basic translation service

    - Monitoring the credit status of our customers

    - Provision of packaged services to business partners' customers


    CPP is an award winning organisation:

    - Finalist in the National Insurance Fraud Awards, Counter Fraud
      Initiative of the Year category, 2009

    - Finalist in the European Contact Centre Awards, Large Team and Advisor
      of the Year categories, 2009

    - Named in the Sunday Times 2008 PricewaterhouseCoopers Profit Track 100

    - Finalists in the National Business Awards, 3i Growth Strategy category,
      2008

    - Finalist in the National Business Awards, Business of the Year
      category, 2007, 2009 and Highly Commended in 2008

    - Named in the Sunday Times 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 HSBC Top Track 250
      companies

    - Regional winner of the National Training Awards, 2007

    - Winner of the BITC Health, Work and Well-Being Award, 2007

    - Highly Commended in the UK National Customer Service Awards, 2006

    - Winner of the Tamworth Community Involvement Award, 2006. Finalist in
      2008

    - Highly Commended in The Press Best Link Between Business and Education,
      2005 and 2006. Winner in 2007

    - Finalist in the National Business Awards, Innovation category, 2005


    For more information on CPP click on http://www.cpp.co.uk

SOURCE The CPPGroup Plc