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Banks urged to do more to protect customers as cyber crimes soar

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Millions of people fell victim to cyber and card fraud last year and consumers believe bank and credit card providers need to take more responsibility. Here’s how to protect yourself.

New findings by the Office for National Statistics have revealed that almost six million fraud and cyber-crimes took place in England and Wales last year.

And it’s estimated that the losses from credit, debit, charge and ATM-only cards rose by £87m last year, amounting to more than £500m in total.

Who should take responsibility?

A recent study from fraud protection company Defender Note revealed 50% of consumers believe banks should be doing more to prevent fraud, while almost one in five believe it is up to the individual to do more to protect themselves.

At the same time, one in 10 said the police should have core responsibility for tackling the rising levels of card fraud.

The study revealed that young people are being hit hardest by card fraud, with 24% of 18-34 year olds claiming to have been a victim to scams in the last year alone. This compares with 11% of people in the over-55 category.

Morgan Rothwell, director of fraud-protection company Defender Note, said: “Consumers are quite within their rights to ask their banks for more protection but individuals should also be taking care to protect themselves.

“This can be achieved through simple steps, such as regularly checking bank statements or showing caution when it comes to paying on certain websites, or taking their bank cards out in public places.”

Alex Neill, director of policy and campaigns at Which?, added: “For the first time, the shocking scale of people hit by cyber crime and fraud has been revealed.  With cyber crime becoming increasingly sophisticated, even the savviest people can be scammed so it’s vital that businesses up their game in the fight against fraud.”

Top tips to help avoid fraud

Here are five top tips to help consumers avoid fraud but see YourMoney.com’s full guide on how to stay protected:

  1. Don’t do your banking in public places and don’t do it using public Wi-Fi (establishing bogus public Wi-Fi hotspots is a way for criminals to access devices and information).
  2. Never respond to unprompted banking messages unless you are absolutely certain the request is genuine.
  3. Be aware of the domain names used and the security signs visible in a browser. Make sure you log on to a banking website at a web address you know, not via a link.
  4. Never provide any banking details to a third party you don’t know or are unsure about.
  5. Don’t overshare – sharing details such as your name, address and date of birth allows fraudsters to exploit the information and steal your identity.