Reading recent news of the Online Safety Bill made me think about the increasing threat of cyber-crime and the negative impact on people’s experience of technology and digital services.
Cyber-attacks and scams have evolved into a multi-billion-dollar industry, impacting the most vulnerable people in society. As we delve into this growing concern, it becomes clear that cyber security isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a lifeline for those who seek safe digital interactions.
A staggering 87% of online users have encountered suspected scams online (Ofcom). And with the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and growing sophistication of cyber-crime, there’s been a concerning increase in the number of people falling victim to scams, creating an urgent need for robust protection mechanisms.
AI, a force that has the power to reshape our world, isn’t solely being harnessed for benevolent purposes. Cyber criminals have seized this technology to refine their scams, creating a digital environment where even the most tech-savvy individuals struggle to distinguish the real from the fake. Gone are the days of relying solely on grammar and spelling errors to unmask scams. AI’s capabilities have ushered in a new era, wherein phone call scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated. These AI-driven scams adapt and respond intuitively to interactions, making it even harder to detect their criminal intentions, meaning many fall victim.
A concerning trend emerges in the aftermath of these successful scams – victims often fall prey to subsequent attacks. Once an individual is duped by a scam, their details are often shared on the dark web, making them vulnerable targets for future exploitation. This cycle intensifies scam traffic and raises the probability of repeat victimisation.
The ramifications of repeat victimisation extend beyond the individual victims to the organisations they engage with for essential services. Traditionally, if a scam involving an organisation’s guise leads to financial loss, often, the organisation shoulders the burden of reimbursing the victim. So, as the frequency of scams escalates, organisations may face challenges in sustaining this financial strain.
As advocates of digital inclusion initiatives – driving change in health, wealth and wellbeing outcomes – it’s paramount to emphasise the significance of imparting online safety, scam awareness, and cyber security knowledge in all digital training, and is a crucial part of all training we do at my own organisation.
But, I believe the focus must extend beyond the digitally excluded to encompass those with an online presence, limited digital skills, or any vulnerabilities. These demographics have digital skills but may not have the know-how to protect themselves from cyber-crime, ultimately making them particularly susceptible to online scams. Equipping them with the tools to navigate the digital realm safely is a crucial step towards minimising their risk of repeat victimisation.
Amid an ominous digital landscape, there are unique solutions offered by We Are Digital that act as protection mechanisms against repeat victimisation: one solution being, cyber-crime support.
You need to manage the aftermath of cyber-attacks and scams by offering sustained support to vulnerable individuals after they have been victimised. Collaborating with organisations, We do this by orchestrating a transfer from the contact centre to cyber-crime support sessions. This seamless transition ensures that victims quickly receive vital support, information, and training on safe online practices, scam prevention, and cyber security, all in order to prevent a reoccurrence of them being scammed.
It’s important that you are providing that assistance when vulnerability is most acute and receptiveness is at its peak. By facilitating the support at the point of need, you curtail repeat victimisation and empower individuals to confidently embrace digital solutions.
This comprehensive approach not only shields customers from the aftershocks of cyber-attacks but also bolsters their resilience against data breaches. In the event of a data breach, this solution serves as an instant support mechanism, reassuring customers and minimising the potential for subsequent scams.
This would then reduce the financial burden of refunding cyber scam victims, so organisations can redirect resources towards enhancing their services. In turn, this creates an environment where customers feel empowered to self-serve, minimising the strain on contact centres and enabling them to support other more complex issues, as well as enabling efficient digital interactions.
As the cyber landscape continues to evolve, proactive measures are necessary to safeguard our digital communities. My own organisation, We Are Digital are pioneering this approach, extending a helping hand to those who have fallen victim and providing a pathway towards a safer and more secure digital future. Embracing this comprehensive strategy ensures that the rising tide of cyber-attacks and scams is met with steady resolve and collective action.