Brits fleeced out of £204 million by catfishing and scammers in the last year

People are being urged to protect themselves on dating apps as thousands across the UK have lost hundreds of millions to online hackers, scammers and catfish in the last twelve months.

The British public has been scammed out of around £204.5 million by digital hackers and fraudsters in the last 12 months.

App company Bacancy Technology analysed statistics from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and found that the UK has filed more than 60,297 reports of cybercrime since last September.

While credit card and bank fraud are still the dominant digital crimes, social media hacking and dating scams are now #2 and #3 respectively in the list of personal digital crimes.

There have been more than 12,225 reports of social media and email hacking worth more than £2,500,000, with each person losing around £204 per crime.

Dating scams are leading to even bigger losses though. Lonely hearts are being tricked into sending an average of £10,000 to criminals who take advantage of dating apps and sites, costing victims upwards of £97,600,000.

Many people are failing to take steps to protect themselves from big money scams. Around 26 million Brits don't know if their smartphone has security installed.

"It seems that while the British public are aware of the potential dangers of online activities, many are failing to take steps to adequately protect themselves and their loved ones," a spokesperson for Bacancy, the company behind the research, said.

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"Digital security is of the utmost importance, and everyone with a smart device should take necessary precautions to ensure their safety.”

To protect your smartphone from hackers and password thieves, install a reliable free antivirus like Avast as well as anti-malware software like MalwareBytes.

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