One in ten UK adults (10%) have cancelled their credit or debit card in the last year due to attempted fraud, according to new research by comparethemarket.com. This equates to over five million people becoming the victims of the cybercrime in the last twelve months, highlighting the worrying levels of online fraud in the UK.

In a survey of 2,000 adults, comparethemarket.com found that not only are accounts being hacked, but significant amounts of money are also being successfully stolen in many cases. Of the 37% of people who had money stolen from their accounts, £544 was taken on average. Based on these findings, comparethemarket.com estimates that over £1 billion has been stolen as a direct result of credit or debit card fraud in the last year.

Despite having a lot of money stolen from their accounts, only 12% of people who were hacked in the last 12 months have changed their debit or credit card provider, whilst over two thirds (68%) have not considered, or have no intention of changing accounts.

This is despite the fact that, in over a third of cases (36%), the customer’s bank did not alert them to suspicious activity at the time of the cyber-attack. Incredibly, one in ten (11%) of those who were a victim of a cyber-attack in the last year took a week or more to notice they’d been hacked, suggesting a distinct lack of attention and action from their bank or credit card provider.

Public bodies are taking steps to address the rising levels of online fraud, with the Payment Systems Regulator recently announcing plans to reimburse those scammed into transferring money into fraudulent bank accounts. Consumers however, remain dissatisfied, with over half (51%) of people hacked in the last year agreeing that the government is not doing enough to protect consumers from cybercrime.

The regularity of fraud is becoming a worrying trend, as over a third (35%) of those hacked in the last year have been victims of card fraud before. The number of people cancelling cards in the UK has risen to 5.2 million today, up from 4.5 million in September 2016 when comparethemarket.com’s research began. The most frequent point at which fraud takes place is during the payment process.

Shakila Hashmi, Head of Money at comparethemarket.com, said: “These findings are really shocking. The scale of the cybercrime problem is huge, in terms of both the number of people defrauded and the amount of money stolen. With the likes of Black Friday and Cyber Monday upon us, this time of year could be seen as the perfect opportunity for online criminals, unless people take definitive steps to protect their money.

“Digital banking is the new frontier for criminal activity, and whilst banks will be doing their best to prevent fraud, people should ensure that they are doing everything they can to protect themselves. This is particularly important as we know that banks and credit card providers aren’t always as quick off the mark as they should be in flagging suspicious activity.

“One of the best ways to keep your money safe is to have multiple passwords and to regularly change these. They should also be hard to guess, so no obvious dates, names or locations. Our research found that 17% of people have the same passwords for all their accounts, largely for ease of use – but it’s worth taking time to review them. Doing this and increasing your vigilance when making payments should help make it that much harder for cyber criminals to succeed, keeping the fraud frenzy at bay this festive season.”