Online fraud is becoming a big problem. Businesses are using tools like domain monitoring to combat the issue and prevent it from hurting the customer. These battles are often invisible to the general public. That’s why to many people, online fraud can seem like a distant thing.
While we’ve all seen the big headlines about the impact on business, many don’t realise the real effect online fraud can have on consumers and customers. But the cost of fraud in the UK touches everyone. It is important for both the business and the customer to realise what fraud can do. Raising this awareness can ensure people take steps to prevent fraud online.
Online fraud in figures in 2021
The estimated cost of online fraud stands at £137,000,000,000. The figure is so big that it can be hard to comprehend. You can view that headline and struggle to put it into context. It’s important to dig a bit deeper because it allows you to realise what these big numbers mean in action. In a single year, that amount of money could buy you:
- Over 22 billion Netflix subscriptions
- More than 16 million family packs of toilet rolls
- Nearly 362 million smartwatches
- Over 300 million PlayStation 5 consoles
- Over 27 million around-the-world flight tickets
The figure is so big that if you spread it across the whole year, you could buy over 136 million cups of coffee on the first day of the year! After January, you would have already drunk over 4 billion cups. When you put these figures into context like that you can see why businesses are looking for things like domain monitoring to protect themselves and their customers.
How online fraud impacts the consumer
All that money is directed away from a business’ coffers. But online fraud is not just harmful to the business. While they are losing out on consumer spending, the individual also suffers in the face of fraud. Here are some of the ways online fraud can impact the individual consumer:
1. They lose money
It’s not just the business losing money. The consumer will lose their hard-earned money without receiving anything in return. They might look into a website thinking they are buying a new PlayStation console only to discover it was a fraudulent website. While banks and insurance companies can return the money, this can sometimes take days. It can have an impact on future spending and put your finances on hold.
2. Their trust takes a hit
Trust is an important part of shopping decisions. We choose brands we can trust. But online fraud can have a big impact on this trust. Consumers can start second-guessing their decision to shop online or to use specific brands. It can be harmful to the consumer because they might miss out on products or services they might have otherwise liked.
It is not a good thing to lose your trust in business. Loss of trust can lead to more problems. For example, you might miss out on a company trying to protect your data if you think that giving information to them is always bad.
3. Their future online activity is harmed
Online fraud often doesn’t have just a one-off impact on the consumer. For example, fake websites are a common threat these days. They can mimic a real website. When the consumer enters their details on these sites, the information gets into the hands of fraudsters. This data can then be sold further on the dark web. To combat this, businesses can use a domain monitoring solution to track this stolen data.
However, if a company doesn’t do this, then the information can be passed on from one fraudster to another. Your stolen information can be online and used to harm your future online activity. For example, if you use the same password for multiple accounts, then criminals could potentially hack multiple accounts not just the one initially targeted.
Protection from online fraud
The above are real examples of how online fraud can devastate consumer lives. Fraud should be taken seriously and you should take the necessary steps to protect yourself. One of the most important things a consumer can do is:
- Use strong passwords
- Have a different password for different accounts
- Turn on two-factor authentication
- Check website encryption
It’s also helpful to understand the kind of protection different brands and websites provide. You want to use businesses that take online security seriously. For example, do they have a domain monitoring tool in use to find stolen information or fraudulent sites?
You should also check what their communication policy is. For instance, many banks would never send you an email with a link to sign-up on the website. If you receive such an email, it can be an immediate warning sign.
The cost of fraud in the UK is a devastating problem. Online fraud isn’t only hurting businesses but also their consumers and customers. You need to pay attention to your online behaviour to ensure you stay safe.