It’s that time of year again. With Christmas on the way, many of us are busy figuring out what deals there are to do in the January sale.
When it comes to buying gifts for Christmas, almost two-thirds (64%) of Londoners said they plan to do their shopping virtually. But with a fifth (19%) having been the victim of scams in the past, staying safe online has never been more important.
First of all, the crooks are more sophisticated than ever. The pandemic has seen more and more people use digital services, and fraudsters have unfortunately exploited this.
Second, scams and fraud are among the most common forms of crime in the UK. Although the banking industry was able to prevent the loss of £ 1.8bn in 2019, criminals were still able to steal more than £ 1.2bn.
The impact is not just financial. It can also have a devastating emotional and physical impact on those affected.
At Lloyds Banking Group, we take our responsibility to keep people safe online very seriously. We have some of the most sophisticated technologies in the world to protect our customers against fraud. It ranges from advanced payment verification to fraud detection systems – and we are constantly running campaigns to educate consumers as well.
But financial services companies like ours cannot keep the Internet safe on their own. There is still a lot to do. Along with banks, social media and search engine companies also have a role to play in keeping people safe.
Earlier this year, the government released the Online Security Bill, which sent a strong message that online crooks will be tackled head-on. It was a step in the right direction.
Now is the time to turn this step into a stride.
Fake social media accounts and advertising can be hard to tell apart, but the government could force big tech companies to do more to protect users by removing harmful fraudulent accounts and content from their platforms.
The parliamentary committee responsible for reviewing this law recently recommended this change. The ball is in the government’s court.
Paid online advertising fraud is a big part of online scams. By strengthening the approach of the bill and empowering tech and social media companies to protect consumers from online financial scams, we can better protect everyone who uses online services.
To make this a reality, we must all work together – in government, in financial services, and in technology companies. In doing so, we can make the Internet a safer place for everyone.
In the meantime, here are three tips for staying safe online:
- Stop – Always take a moment to think before parting with your money or information.
- Challenge – Ask if something is wrong or wrong. It is normal to take time out of transactions and to dispute, reject or ignore requests. Genuine and reputable companies won’t try to rush you into a decision.
- Protect – If you think you have fallen into the trap, report it immediately to your bank and contact Action Fraud, even if you haven’t lost anything yet. Some scammers take a long time to use the information they’ve gathered, so it’s worth reporting your concerns before they forget.
For more information on online fraud, visit https://www.lloydsbank.com/help-guidance/protecting-yourself-from-fraud.html