Dodgy website passwords driving UK fraud spike
Almost one fifth (17%) of UK adults have been the victim of fraud in the last 12 months, according to new research from Nuance.
The global study – which polled 10,000 adults across the US, UK, Australia, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Spain, and Mexico – also found that the average cost for these victims is nearly £3,300. This is triple the amount typically lost to fraud in 2019, which was then costing £1,000 per victim, according to a previous Nuance study.
In the majority of cases, the fraud threat is compounded by poor password hygiene. The study discovered that, when selecting a password, under a quarter (24%) of respondents try to have different one for every website or brand they interact with and less than one in five (19%) follow the ‘password strength’ indicators.
Instead, 22% of those surveyed have two or three different options that they bounce between. To make matters worse, around one in ten (7%) choose the same passwords for nearly everything, irrespective of strength and uniqueness.
According to the findings, traditional PINs and passwords are still creating challenges for UK consumers. Each month, over one third (34%) forget and have to request to reset them, whilst one in five (20%) receive notifications that they have been compromised. In light of this, it’s unsurprising that over one third (34%) of respondents reported their trust in PINs and passwords had decreased over the last 12 months.
“PINs and passwords are an archaic tool, no longer fit for their original purpose, as this research makes clear,” said Simon Marchand, Chief Fraud Prevention Officer for Security and Biometrics at Nuance. “Every day, passwords are being sold on the dark web and exploited for fraudulent activity. The fraud committed with them – not to mention the challenge and frustrations associated with simply remembering them – is costing unfortunate businesses and individuals vast sums of money, especially in the wake of the pandemic. With fraud on the rise, brands have a responsibility to develop a more comprehensive approach to authentication.”
As PINs and passwords continue to fail, organisations and individuals alike are increasingly looking to different, more effective and convenient ways to prevent fraud.
According to the poll, consumer comfort over the use of biometrics is growing in the UK, with almost half (45%) saying they feel more comfortable using the technology to authenticate themselves than before the pandemic. In fact, over a third (34%) of UK consumers now trust a form of biometrics (either voice, facial, fingerprint, behavioural or a combination of these) most as a means of authentication.
Biometrics authenticate a person’s identity based on characteristics inherent to them, such as the sound of their voice, the way they speak, type, and swipe on their device, and even their word choice and sentence structure.
“As we transition into a post-pandemic world of remote working, shopping and socialising, it has never been more important for businesses to ensure that consumers are provided with a more sophisticated and secure experience,” added Marchand. “Now is the time to confine PINs and passwords to the history books. Stronger approaches to authentication, such as biometrics, have not only been proven to help reduce the cost of fraud, but will also introduce a more streamlined, seamless customer experience to deliver faster and more efficient services.”