Barclays UK CEO launches new £10m national digital safety drive

digital safety

This major initiative is being launched as latest crime figures show 5.6m fraud and cyber offences in the UK making up half of all recorded crime, and costing the UK £11bn. Barclays is urging businesses and their workforces to get involved in the fight back against fraud, as new research reveals the UK public’s Digital Safety knowledge.

The new national Digital Safety Index survey, which polled businesses and consumers shows that London, Bristol, and Birmingham are the scam capitals in the UK, with the largest gaps in public resilience. Moreover, London and Bristol also top the tables for the most reported cases of fraud, with Manchester joining them in the top three. Newcastle reported fewer cases of fraud and scams, while Liverpool reported a particularly high number of impersonation scams.

The research also shows that younger people – 25-34 year olds-  are twice as likely to be victims of online fraud than older generations, putting to bed the notion that older people are more at risk of being “duped” by cyber criminals.

Separate research from the IoD and Barclays revealed that SMEs feel least confident working on mobiles, -33 per cent, tablets, -24 per cent, and when working from personal laptops or desktops, -15 per cent, while 40 per cent of SMEs do not know who to report online fraud to.

Barclays UK CEO is calling for the public, police and businesses across the UK to unite and tackle this growing issue of public concern.

Under the new Digital Safety drive:

  • A new online quiz is available to everyone in the UK from today which businesses can use to keep their workforce safe. By answering simple questions people can assess their own digital safety level, and receive useful tips on how to strengthen their defences at Barclays aims to help at least 3million people to boost their digital safety levels by using the test.
  • A new £10m national advertising campaign is being launched across national TV, print, online and billboards. It will alert people to the risk of fraud unless they take proper precautions, and will include content targeted towards younger people and in urban areas.
  • Barclays will be hosting regular fraud awareness takeovers on its online and mobile banking sites, prioritising fraud prevention over products.
  • Barclays’ nationwide force of 17,000 Digital Eagles will provide digital safety teach-ins to people, and free support clinics for the 1million UK SMEs we serve. Barclays Business Eagles will deliver 500 free events across the UK including Cornwall, Ipswich and Liverpool, and the bank aims to reach 30,000 people in businesses in 2017, to keep them safe from fraud.

Ashok Vaswani, Chief Executive of Barclays UK, said: “With rapid developments in technology, and as businesses keep pace with the evolution of consumer digital habits, a ‘digital safety gap’ between digital confidence and knowledge has emerged. Criminals are exploiting this gap and no business should leave themselves open to a fraudster. This is now a national resilience issue, and we all need to boost our digital safety levels in order to close the gap.

“That is why we are launching this new national campaign on digital safety, and we will do all in our power to arm businesses and people with the tools and information they need. SMEs are the backbone of this country and need to be our first line defence to keep themselves and their customers safe.

“I want to help make digital safety as commonplace as locking your shop front. I want businesses, the police and the public to unite and stand shoulder to shoulder together so that we can block and frustrate the bad guys at every turn.”

Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors: “Cyber fraud is as much a concern for businesses as it is for individuals. Our members are bombarded by fraudsters, using tricks like bogus invoices, and have to be constantly on their guard. Lack of awareness can be a problem for consumers and small businesses alike, with 40 per cent of IoD members unaware where they should report an online fraud. It’s vital that companies of all sizes work with their customers to reduce cyber fraud, so we welcome the steps Barclays is taking to protect and inform users of their services.”

Barclays estimates that if SMEs implemented these three top tips with their employees we could help to cut levels of fraud by up to 75 per cent.

  1. Never give out your full Online Banking PIN, Passcode or Password to anyone, even a caller claiming to be from the police or your bank.
  2. Do not click on any link or open an attachment on any e-mail you receive which is unsolicited.
  3. Avoid letting someone you do not know have access to your computer, especially remotely.