420,000 scam emails sent per hour in UK

Cyber crime

UK users are still very much at risk from cyber crime, with one of us becoming a victim every seven seconds and more than 420,000 scam emails being sent every hour.

So says a report from life assistance firm CPP, which has estimated 3.7 billion phishing emails were sent to Britons in the last year, providing further evidence of the relentless rise of cyber crime.

Furthermore, a quarter of Brits have been hit by online fraudsters and the average victim has lost more than 285, according to the study carried out by ResearchNow for the consumer protection company.

More than half of respondents have received emails luring them into a fake lottery or competition prize draws, while 55 per cent of those targeted by email scams are sent messages claiming to be from banks.

"It can be extremely difficult to spot a legitimate email from a scam, so we advise caution at all times when online," said Nicole Sanders, identity fraud expert at CPP, in a statement.

"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," she added.

Concerns over social networking security have been escalating since the boom of such services began. Facebook has been hit by a number of attacks in the last month, including one known as clickjacking, which has forced users to Like' webpages on the social networking site.

Reformed computer hacker Robert Schifreen said that staying safe online is simple as long as people follow rudimentary security advice, such as keeping antivirus software up to date.

"Never type your credit card number, password, or any other confidential information into a website unless its address begins with https and your browser displays the closed padlock' symbol," Schifreen added in a statement for the CPP report.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.