Cybercrime threat: what it means for you

cybermenMatt Crossick/EMPICS Entertainment

A new report from PriceWaterhouse Coopers has warned that cybercrime targeting our financial life is on the rise. It's the most common target for fraudsters, and constitutes a business worth billions of pounds around the world.

So what does it mean for you?

Rising tide

The figures, pulled from a major survey three months ago, revealed that cybercrime is a growing threat within financial companies, accounting for 38% of all criminal incidents. Some 48% of all companies involved in the survey said it was a rising concern.

Worryingly the companies were ill-prepared for an attack. Some 60% said they don't have or are not aware of having the in-house capability to investigate cybercrime and 43% said they had received no cyber security training in the past twelve months.

For the businesses themselves, their biggest concern (for 40% of people) was damage to their brand and reputation.

What it means for you?

However, there are also concerns about the damage it could do to customers. Some 36% of businesses were concerned that cybercrime in their business could lead to the theft or loss of personal identifiable information, and 35% were worried it could lead to theft of data.

On the plus side, if you can prove you haven't been personally negligent, you shouldn't lose out financially, because any money that is taken should be refunded to you by your bank. However, there is every likelihood you could face cash flow problems, headaches sorting the paperwork, and knock-on implications across every aspect of your financial life.

Dodgy staff

The report also revealed that theft by staff is a growing concern - rising from 12% of cases two years earlier to 18% of all cases. Andrew Clark, forensic services partner at PwC said in a statement: "This suggests that the tone at the top and the overall senior management attitude to fighting fraud is worsening, and presents an increasing challenge for non-executive board members."

What can you do?

The difficulty in protecting yourself from these attacks is that you can be a victim even if you take every possible step to protect yourself - as it happens internally within companies.

Your best bet, therefore, is simply to stay abreast of your accounts. It's worth knowing what you expect to have in any savings or current accounts, and keeping a close eye on them to check there's nothing unexpected activity.

If you have any doubts at all, contact the bank and check what's going on. It won't mean you can stop cybercrime from affecting you, but fast action can certainly limit the damage.
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