Britain's COVID - Driven Online Crime Wave

Cyber criminals have been taking full advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic, with fraud now at a level where it "poses a national security threat" and the introduction of Britain's new emergency fraud helpline.  

A recent survey from global identity verification service company, Veriff, reveals that 7 million Brits have experienced a COVID-19 vaccine scam in the past three months alone, making it the seventh most common scam in the UK. 

With cyber crime on the increase, understanding how to stay safe online is more important than ever. The survey asked respondents what helps keep them safe online and many agreed that strong passwords, up-to-date virus protection and secure Wi-Fi were key to safe browsing. 

Key Points:-

  • More than 15 million (29%) of Britons feel unsafe online.
  • Over 21% of UK residents said they had been a victim of online identity theft.
  • 16-24-year-olds are the most likely age group to feel unsafe online, with over two-fifths (42%) agreeing.
  • Package delivery emails or texts are revealed as the most common scam in the past three months, with over 22 million (42%) Brits having experienced one.
  • 11.5 million people (21%) have been a victim of online identity theft in the UK.
  • More than 2 million Brits avoid using the internet at night to ‘help keep them safe’

The most common scams in the UK:


   Rank            Type of scam        % who experienced this scam

                                                         over the last three months



   1                  Package deliveries               42%
   2                  Tax rebate                            25%
   3                  TV licence                            19%
   4               Copycat government               16%
   5                   Vehicle tax                          15%
   6              Dating or romance                   14%
   7               COVID-19 vaccine                  13%
   8               Holiday or travel                      10%



According to Verrif, Belfast is the most scammed city with almost 30% saying they experienced online identity theft compared to just 10% of Brighton residents.

Some respondents also agreed that some less conventional methods could help protect them on online - 13% thought only using Google as a search engine would help keep them safe and 4% believed that avoiding Internet usage at night was a good safety precaution. 

Veriff:       Image: Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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