Single professionals most targeted by cyber-criminals

Last year, the UK cybersecurity unit tackled 2.7 million digital scams – almost four times more than in 2020.

It should also be noted that this is a 40% increase compared to the global rate of 8%, suggesting UK cyber crime figures are much higher than in other developed countries.

To delve further into these stats, examined official ONS survey data from 33,735 people and uncovered the most common characteristics of computer misuse victims in the UK.

Contrary to popular belief that the elderly are more vulnerable to scams, online users aged between 25 to 34 years old (1.9%) are the most susceptible to cyber-crime. This is 0.8% more than those between 65 to 74 years old (1.1%).

Those with higher social status are the most likely to be scammed, with 2.3% of victims being professionals and managers. This is followed by students (1.8%) who tend to be avid digital users.

Additionally, people who are out of home for the longest hours (seven hours or more) are the most susceptible to cyber-crime (1.9%) compared to those who leave home for only less than three hours per day (1.1%).

Moreover, data also reveals that laptops (53.4%) are the most targeted device by cyber-criminals, followed by desktop computers (31.9%) and mobile phones (7.9%). The figures also revealed that cyber-criminals seem to target adults with no children (1.6%) the most.

As online scams become increasingly sophisticated, Jon Dukes, head of IT at DVAD, offered guidance on how to keep personal details safe online:

Create memorable passwords and two-factor authentication wherever possible

It is now widely accepted that using complex passwords (a mixture of standard characters, numbers, and special characters) is not as useful as using four random words. This provides better password entropy whilst making it less likely that people will write down their passwords for others to find!

Adding two-factor authentication to online accounts also adds an extra layer of protection by requesting information beyond just a username and password.

Always keep your devices updated

Every electronic device (tablet, mobile phone, laptop) uses a software operating system. These operating systems regularly release software updates to help keep your device protected from viruses, and should be installed as soon as possible. This is to prevent scammers from accessing your personal information through new malware developments.


Do not open unsolicited emails

Many fraudulent transactions start with a phishing email, so avoid opening any unexpected emails – even if they look trustworthy!

Links within these emails should also be ignored as they can automatically infect your device with malware.

Banks, insurance companies and government bodies will not send emails asking users to confirm any of their personal information.

Install anti-virus software

All your electronic devices should have up-to-date anti-virus software installed to prevent personal information from being stolen by scammers.

Anti-virus software with additional anti-spyware capabilities will also further prevent unsolicited programs from tracking your online activity, and scanning your devices for personal information such as bank details.

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