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Cybersecurity Europe Insights

Despite Knowing Risks, Brits Continue to Expose Themselves to Cybercriminals Finds IDnow

IDnow, the identity verification platform provider, has revealed that there is a massive gap in UK consumer knowledge when it comes to key tactics used by fraudsters.

The research by YouGov, commissioned by IDnow, reveals that many Brits are vulnerable to cybercrime which has seen exponential growth in the last year. Despite almost half (45 per cent) of the UK-based respondents (2,264 were surveyed) being aware that scans or photos of ID documents could be obtained by fraudsters, they continued to send them on channels like messenger apps, email and social media, which can be infiltrated by bad actors.

Deepfakes and threats of AI

Such activity could lead to identity theft, which IDnow believes should be a concern to the UK public, especially given the rise in deepfake technology. Developments in generative artificial intelligence (AI) mean deepfake technology can now be used to create hyper-realistic fake documents.  Not to mention videos too. However, the survey found that less than a third (31 per cent) of Britons know what deepfake documents are and are aware of the potential risks posed by digitally generated images of physical documents.

Interestingly, 48 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds surveyed have shared ID documents via such risky channels. This is compared to just 21 per cnet of over-55s. These figures highlight the potential need to better educate the younger generation on digital fraud threats.

Lovro Persen, director document and fraud at IDnow
Lovro Persen, director document and fraud at IDnow

Lovro Persen, director document and fraud at IDnow, commented: “Many of us have seen the uncanny deepfake videos of celebrities that spread like wildfire across the internet, showing how easy it is to emulate the likeness of someone using AI. But worryingly, this research suggests that the UK public is not as concerned, or aware as they should be, of the risks associated with such digitally generated images or videos.

“The extraordinary leaps in AI technology mean it’s now almost too easy for a fraudster to carry out financial crimes. Consumers shouldn’t make it even easier for fraudsters though. Our advice is always to think twice before sending a scan or photo of your driving licence or passport into the digital ether via unencrypted channels, such as social media or email.”

Is fraud front of mind?

The survey also revealed that three-quarters of Brits are most concerned about banking fraud. An additional 37 per cent of Brits are most concerned about fraud via social media channels.

With 54 per cent of Brits unfamiliar with social engineering, encompassing deceptive tactics such as phishing or smishing, the majority of the population remains vulnerable to potential fraud attempts. Social engineering, one of the most prevalent and hard-to-catch fraud typologies, sees fraudsters manipulating trust or fear, putting consumers at risk of divulging sensitive information or falling prey to malicious links disguised as trustworthy messages.

In terms of the likelihood of being a victim of crime, a fifth (21 per cent) of Brits believe they are most at risk of someone hacking their social media profile. In fact, social media was the primary security concern for those aged 18- to 24 years old, with each remaining age group citing their main worry as someone accessing their bank account through identity fraud.

Hence, for accounts connected to larger sums or investments, three-quarters of Brits (75 per cent) would be willing to go through a lengthier online onboarding process, if this made it safer.

More must be done
Doug Pollock, vice president customer success at IDnow
Doug Pollock, vice president customer success at IDnow

Doug Pollock, vice president customer success at IDnow, explained: “Our findings show that banks in the UK do not always go far enough to make their customers feel safe and secure. They need to go further in terms of fraud prevention technology to meet their customers’ risk appetite, especially when their money is at stake. Because, and our research confirms this, if banks get it wrong, the majority of people (54 per cent) would consider moving banks were they to become a victim of fraud.

“We hope these findings highlight the massive impact online fraud continues to have on British people. Because fraudsters work across industries, regions and use cases, it’s vital we all work together – financial services, technology providers, government, law enforcement and the public – to identify and stop fraudsters before it’s too late.”

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