Each year thousands of Internet users become victims of a cybercrime that leaves them out of pocket. Research from Kaspersky Lab reveals that over half (52%) of Internet users globally who’ve lost money at the hands of cybercriminals have only got some, or none, of their stolen funds back.

With the variety and sophistication of online financial threats against consumers growing, losses from online fraud, identity theft and hacking are now running at billions a year. And with many cases going unreported, the true economic cost is likely to be significantly higher.

The research reveals how costly these attacks are for Internet users, and how lucrative they’ve become for cybercriminals. On average, Internet users lose $476 per attack and one–in–ten people surveyed said they lost more than $5 000.

A large majority of Internet users say they conduct financial operations online (81%) and just under half (44%) store financial data on their connected devices. As more users go online to manage their finances, more cybercriminals are looking for opportunities to cash in, making it important for users to have robust Internet security in place to protect themselves and their money. Nevertheless, only 60% of Internet users protect all their devices.

Attitudes to online safety could be influenced by users mistakenly thinking lost money will be automatically refunded to them. Almost half (45%) say that they assume they will be reimbursed by banks for financial cybercrime without any problems, but as the survey shows, over half (52%) of people affected haven’t had all their stolen money returned.

“Cybercriminals are continually looking for new ways to exploit and defraud consumers and that’s why it’s important for Internet users to be on their guard at all times,” says Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky, head of the anti–malware research team at Kaspersky Lab. “Cybercriminals can conduct financial crimes via malware, phishing and more.

“Don’t assume you will always get all your money back if you become a target and funds are stolen from you. The best way to safeguard your finances online is to make sure you don’t become a victim, and for that we recommend specialist software that protects your identity and keeps sensitive data out of the hands of the cybercriminals.”

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