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UK consumers hit hard by fraud

15 November 2010 - 21:50 by Graham Miller

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The latest figures suggest that almost one in ten adults has become the victim of online fraud with eight per cent of this group convinced that the likelihood of complete reimbursement for their losses is zero.

The rate at which fraud is increasing should be seen as a real concern for all consumers in the UK according to VeriSign Authentication which has collected the stats and identified a significant rise in the past year and a half.

The likelihood of becoming the victim of fraud whilst shopping online has doubled in the past six months. The average financial loss incurred as a result of online fraud is now almost £700, dwarfing the £352 average recorded in March and highlighting the importance of safe shopping online.

Fran Rosch, of VeriSign's parent firm Symantec, said that many retailers and financial organisations were choosing to let consumers foot the bill for the increased costs of online fraud.

Mr Rosch told SC Magazine that banks are being faced with an overwhelming number of fraud claims and are not able to absorb the costs in the same way as they could in the past, resulting in higher fees for average consumers.

He pointed out that while many firms offer the chance to protect against fraud and provide remuneration when users are left out of pocket the truth is that everyone should carefully read the small print to make sure that they are aware of their rights and restrictions on claims.

Figures show than almost a third of consumers believe the main roadblock to safe shopping online is a lack of trust and the prevalence of fraud cases. Experts believe that the look and feel of a site is key to instilling this confidence, so retailers must address unprofessional layouts in order to win custom.