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Cybersecurity Europe Insights

Elderly Are Not the Biggest Victims to Fraud, as 25-34 Year Olds Targeted More Finds, the London-based injury claims firm, examined official ONS survey data from 33,735 people over the age of 16, to uncover the most common characteristics of computer misuse victims in the UK.

The UK cybersecurity unit tackled 2.7 million digital scams last year, which was almost four times more than in 2020. This is a staggering 40 per cent increase compared to the global rate of eight per cent, suggesting UK cyber crime figures are much higher than in other developed countries. With scammers on the rise, a cybersecurity expert’s tips on keeping personal details safe online were also obtained.

Individuals who fall victim to computer misuse possess these characteristics:
Age group% of computer misuse victimsOccupation% of computer misuse victimsMarital status% of computer misuse victimsHours out of home on an average weekday% of fraud victims
25-341.9Managerial/professional occupations2.3Single1.97 hours or longer1.9
16-241.8Full-time students1.8Cohabiting1.83 hours or more but less than 7 hours1.5
35-441.8Intermediate occupations1.4Divorced1.6Less than 3 hours1.1
55-641.8Not classified1.2Married/civil partnered1.5‚Äė‚Äô‚Äė‚Äô
45-541.4Routine/manual occupations0.9Separated1.4‚Äė‚Äô‚Äė‚Äô

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

Those with higher social status are the most likely to be scammed, with 2.3 per cent of victims being professionals and managers. This is followed by students (1.8 per cent) 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 fraud (7.4 per cent) than those who leave home for only less than three hours per day (5.6 per cent).

Moreover, data also reveals that laptops (53.4 per cent) are the most popular device targeted by cybercriminals, followed by desktop computers (31.9 per cent) and mobile phones (7.9 per cent).

Households who fall victim to computer misuse possess these characteristics:
Structure of household% of computer misuse victimsTotal household income% of computer misuse victimsRegion% of computer misuse victims
Adult(s) and no children1.6£52,000 or more2.7East2.4
Adults and child(ren)1.5£41,600 to less than £52,0001.9South East2.1
Single adult and child(ren)1.5£31,200 to less than £41,6001.6South West1.9
£20,800 to less than £31,2001.4London1.7
Less than £10,4001.1Yorkshire and The Humber1.5 reveals that cyber criminals seem to target adults with no children (1.6 per cent) the most. Data also shows that East of England households are the most at risk, with 2.4 per cent admitting to being scammed online. This is two per cent more than in the North East and 1.4 per cent more than in Wales (5.4 per cent).

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.


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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