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New study says 87 percent of UK online adults have seen content that could be scams

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The UK's Office of Communication (Ofcom) has just published a new study of people in that country encountering what they believe to be online scams. The study states that the vast majority of UK adults who are online, 87%, have encountered content that they at least suspected of being some kind of fraud or scam.

The study was based on the results of 2,097 UK residents 18 years of age and older who answered questions between May 5-17, 2022. 32 victims of online scams were later interviewed by Ofcom from October 2 to November 11, 2022.

The study showed that 46% of the people that responded claimed they were personally the victim of an online scam. Of that number, 25% said they actually lost money due to the scam. 21% of the survey respondents said they had lost £1,000 or more as a result of online fraud.

Ofcom stats about online fraud

The study also goes over the types of online scams and frauds that the study participants encountered. Impersonation fraud was the number one scam with 51 percent of users, followed by scams centered on counterfeit goods at 42 percent and some kind of investment scheme at 40 percent.

Men in general, people who are aged 18-34, and people who have children seem to encounter what they believe to be online scams more than the average. Of that number, 30 percent saw the scams via email, with 23 percent encountering online fraud via social networks.

So who or what should try to fight off these scams? The Ofcom survey stated:

When asked who should take action against online scams and fraud, the majority of participants (61%) felt online tech firms have a responsibility. Fewer people – just over half – said responsibility should fall to users, or to the police (54% respectively), while three in ten (30%) think Ofcom should be responsible.

There is a new bill that's making the rounds of the UK Parlimant called the Online Safety Bill. If passed, it will require technology companies "to assess and take steps to mitigate the risks of harm to users from ‘priority illegal content."

Source: Ofcom

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