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"Wild west" internet getting wilder as e-crime soars

By Asavin Wattanajantra

Posted on 30 Oct 2008 at 15:43

A new report reveals incidents of online fraud in the UK have jumped nearly 20% from the year before.

The study, conducted by Garlik, claims there were 250,000 incidents of online financial fraud in 2007.

It as an alarming number, but one dwarfed by the three and a half million online crimes that were carried out in the same period, a 9% rise from the previous year. Of these crimes, the report estimates 84,000 cases were of online identity fraud.

Ominously, the report suggests the economic downturn and the increasing awareness of online theft and its rewards could result in more individuals taking up e-crime.

"It's critical in this time of financial crisis that individuals are vigilant with their personal information, because as long as the credit crunch continues, we can expect to see a real growth in online financial fraud," says Garlik's chief executive Tom Ilube.

The report was based on estimated data gathered in collaboration with leading criminologists, which Garlik claims was necessary source due to the absence of cybercrime data from the Government.

A recent BBC investigation into e-crime, revealed debit and credit card fraud was worth £500 million, backing claims by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, which last year claimed e-crime was running out of control.

"At the moment it seems that the internet is increasingly perceived as a sort of 'wild west', outside the law," its report read.

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