33% of all Brits believe that they could be victims of bank fraud in the next five years

People's faith in security structures around online banking and banking apps seems to be dwindling, according to a new study by research agency Populus.

One in every three Brits believe they could be victims of bank fraud in the next five years.

According to a recent statistic from the Office for National Statistics, Fraud and computer misuse offences accounted for 5.4 million offences out of a total of 11.5 million offences in 2016, which also included theft, burglary and violent crime. Computer misuse offences included unauthorised access to personal information, computer viruses, computer misuse, advance fee fraud, non-investment fraud, general fraud and bank and credit account fraud.

A new research by research agency Populus has backed up the statistic with its own survey. The survey revealed that 33% of all Brits believe that they could be victims of bank fraud over the next five years. This is because 40% of all Brits do not know how secure online banking and banking apps are. So far, 5 million Brits have been affected by bank fraud, says the study, which may have reinforced their belief.

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“Online safety, especially when it comes to our finances, is a serious concern for many consumers. Banks have a major role to play in advising customers as to how best to keep their money safe, whilst there is room for improvement with the way consumers handle their account details. Vigilance across the board will help both banks and customers ensure their money is as safe as possible from online threats,” said Gary Muncaster, MD of Business and Consumer Insight at Populus.

The question of cyber-security hasn't stopped banking activities from going digital at a fast pace. Between 2015 and 2016, British banks closed as many as 1,000 branches, with Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Lloyds and HSBC leading from the front. According to research by Populus, 64% of 18-34s in the UK have used banking apps, compared to 42% of 35-54s and 21% of those aged 55+.

The research also revealed that almost half (49%) of all Brits wanted strong security measures to be among the top three things they wanted from their banks. One in every five also believed that banking apps are unsecure, and of all banks, people pointed fingers at Nationwide, NatWest and TSB for not being proactive about their security.

However, while they want banks to pull up their socks, the research also revealed that consumers themselves aren't very careful in ensuring security of their banking information.

According to Populus, 32% of consumers have asked their web browsers to remember their passwords, 29% have used the same password for multiple accounts, 13% have accessed their bank accounts on public Wi-Fi, 13% have shared their bank account details with others via texts or online messages, and 10% have put card details into websites they don't know and trust.

Following an $81million heist on the Bangladesh central bank last year, the Bank of England ordered UK banks to update cyber-security measures on a war footing. “The Bank of England’s call to action is a reminder that British businesses can no longer afford to be complacent in the face of mounting cyber-security threats," said Neil Greathead, vice president and chief customer officer of EMEA at BMC Software.

"As companies continue to embrace digital transformation initiatives, hackers will increase attacks to steal confidential data. That’s why it’s critical that banks and organisations in the financial services space increase information security procedures for the long term,” he added.