Cyber criminals can make £14,500 per person

The people at the highest risk of identity theft are those who shop or bank online, says Get Safe Online report.

Online criminals can make 14,500 off the average UK internet user, according to statistics released by Get Safe Online to mark its annual awareness week.

Fraudsters are very quick in their attacks, taking as much as they can from their target in a short amount of time by emptying savings accounts and maxing out credit cards, the group warned.

Cyber criminals sell the financial data they gain access to for 5 per piece or the victims' full financial identity including name, address, and credit card numbers, for just 80.

On a positive note, 85 per cent of UK internet users have some form of antivirus installed on their computers. However, 48 per cent are not updating it enough to ensure it is still effective and 23 per cent do not have anti-spyware protection.

Nearly half (47 per cent) also do not have website authentication software to protect themselves from phishing' attacks, which have risen 15 per cent since 2007.

Nick Staib, director of GetSafeOnline.org and senior manager at HSBC, warned that there are other, less obvious costs associated with internet crime.

"If your financial reputation has been compromised through identity theft, this could have an impact on your ability to obtain credit or borrow money in the future," Staib said. "Even with an explanatory note on your credit record, you may be viewed as 'high risk'."

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