More than half of all cyber crime victims do not get their money back or are only able to recover part of their losses, according to a global survey commissioned by Russian cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab.
The poll – conducted by B2B International in countries including Germany, France, Spain and the US – revealed that 5% of consumers have fallen victims to some form of cybercrime, and that they lost an average of $476 (€445) each. Only 48% of victims surveyed said they received all the money they lost back.
Despite these figures, Kaspersky said cyber crime victims have a “fair chance” of recovering their losses so long as they report them promptly to either their card issuer or the fraud department of a merchant involved in a rogue transaction within 24 hours. The anti-virus software vendor points out that retailers have no desire to accept payment for goods or services from stolen cards, and that most will reverse fraudulent transactions if they are able to catch them in time.
“Cyber criminals 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,” said Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky, Head of the Anti-Malware Research Team at Kaspersky Lab.
“Cyber criminals 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 cyber criminals.”
Banks throughout Europe have differing policies on refunding victims of cyber fraud, although many say they will refuse to reimburse customers if there is reasonable proof they were in any way responsible for their payment details or account being compromised. The majority of card issuers and banks are vague when it comes to outlining the circumstances under which they would refuse a refund, with most speaking in loose terms about gross negligence or complicity in fraudulent activity as reasons to deny customers their money back.
In March last year, London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said British victims of online fraud should not have their losses reimbursed if they had failed to take steps to guard their online security, such as using strong passwords and installing up-to-date anti-virus software.
Speaking with the Times, Sir Bernard said: “The system is not incentivising you to protect yourself. If someone said to you, ‘If you’ve not updated your software I will give you half back’, you would do it.”