32.7% of people surveyed by Neighbourhood Watch have been a victim of some kind of online scam within the last 12 months.


3rd July 2024 – According to a recent survey from Neighbourhood Watch, nearly a third of Brits surveyed have been victims of cybercrime in the last 12 months, with the most common being telephone or text scams (23.0%), followed by email scams (20.9%) and social media or computer accounts hacked (6.2%). 

While information and guidance on spotting and avoiding cybercrime is readily available from organisations including the NCSC and Neighbourhood Watch, the scammers themselves have been using increasingly sophisticated methods to scam individuals of their money and personal data.

A huge 47.9% of people surveyed see cybercrime as an equal threat to them as physical crime, and 36.9% see it as more of a threat than physical crime, however nearly a fifth (14.2%) would not report incidents of cybercrime. 

“In today’s connected world, we often share personal information online. While you should always share cautiously, there are ways to be fully empowered online without compromising your safety, privacy or identity. Practicing general caution and having a security software on your devices is imperative,” said Luis Corrons, Security Evangelist for Norton. “Tools such as Norton Genie can help people detect potential scams.  It's also hugely important that when you are targeted by an online scam, you report it to Action Fraud [link: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime]  where you can report fraud online and find further advice on protecting yourself and others.” 

Based on the surveyed base, people from Yorkshire and Humber claim to be the most likely to own a smart device (91.74%), with the smartphone being the most commonly owned smart device (79.5%) – smart fridges were the least commonly owned smart device amongst those surveyed (1.1%), suggesting we’re not quite ready for our fridges to tell us when we need to top up the groceries! 

The survey also found that less than a quarter of people surveyed (22%) have anti-virus software installed on their computers, and less than three-quarters of those who do (71.3%) keep the software updated, despite cybercrime being considered as an equal threat to physical crime. Several companies offer free anti-virus software, including Avast, whose Avast One product is free and available to all.

According to the survey, cyber-attacks led to 15% of people  surveyed losing money, with nearly a quarter (17.2%) losing up to £2,000 , and over a fifth (14%) losing more than £2,000. It’s clear that the emotional impact of being a victim of cybercrime is huge, with over a third of people surveyed  (37%) saying they felt unsafe, 30.9% saying they felt anxious or depressed as a result, and some saying their personal relationships and professional reputations were damaged.

John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch said, “Neighbourhood Watch was founded to help people protect themselves and their communities. While traditionally people view Neighbourhood Watch as largely focused on physical crime, over recent years our members recognise the very real threat that cybercrime poses to themselves, their friends, family, and neighbours. We’ve heard countless stories from our members about the increase in scams, phishing and hacking they’ve been subjected to, with a significant portion of our membership feeling more at risk of cybercrime than physical crime. Our Cyberhood Watch Ambassadors play a vital role in supporting our members to know how to spot, report and avoid falling victim to cybercrime. They also empower our members to enjoy the internet and online services happily and safely.”

Members of the public can register for free to join Neighbourhood Watch as a member or volunteer here: .https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/joinNW