One in ten Brits hit by cybercrime

Office for National Statistics reveals alarming extent of online crime

Cyber crime

One in ten Britons has been a victim of cybercrime in the past year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The 5.8 million estimated incidents of cybercrime over the past year will almost double the crime rate in England and Wales. 

That's also two million incidents more than an estimate the ONS released last October. Of the total, two million are computer misuse offences, including viruses, and 3.8 million are fraud offences, including payment card fraud.

The report shows that 4.7% of payment card users were victims of fraud, similar to previous years. In more than 80% of bank and credit fraud, victims were reimbursed, according to statistician John Flatley

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

But unlike wider crime, the risk of being a victim of fraud is "more evenly distributed across society than most other crimes," Flatley noted, regardless of whether they live in urban or rural areas, or in deprived areas. 

Flatley also noted that Britons are 20 times more likely to be hit by fraud than traditional robbery and ten times more likely than "theft from person". 

"Deceptive crime"

The data is not taken from crime reports, as many online crimes are not brought to police. Instead, it's based on a survey of 9,000 people over six months, a technique that's used to estimate other crimes as well. 

The ONS said fraud is a "deceptive crime", as victimisation is "indiscriminate, covering organisations as well as individuals."

Because victims may not be aware they've been targeted, or be unwilling to report the crime, "the level of fraud reported via administrative sources is thought to significantly understate the true level of such crime."

Advertisement - Article continues below

The fraud and computer crime survey hopes to address that mismatch. "This is the first time we have published official estimates of fraud and computer misuse from our victimisation survey, and ONS is leading the world in doing this," said Flatley. "Together, these offences are similar in magnitude to the existing headline figures covering all other Crime Survey offences."

He added: "However, it would be wrong to conclude that actual crime levels have doubled since the survey previously did not cover these offences. These improvements to the Crime Survey will help to measure the scale of the threat from these crimes, and help shape the response."

Overall, crime in England and Wales decreased by 6%, the ONS added.

Featured Resources

Digitally perfecting the supply chain

How new technologies are being leveraged to transform the manufacturing supply chain

Download now

Three keys to maximise application migration and modernisation success

Harness the benefits that modernised applications can offer

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

The 3 approaches of Breach and Attack Simulation technologies

A guide to the nuances of BAS, helping you stay one step ahead of cyber criminals

Download now


internet security

Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

19 Dec 2019

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019

Most Popular

mergers and acquisitions

Xerox to nominate directors to HP's board – reports

22 Jan 2020
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
public sector

UK gov launches £300,000 SEN EdTech initiative

22 Jan 2020
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020