LETTERS: Keep Safe Online must not lead to business bullying

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This week is Get Safe Online Week where events are held across the country to give people, particularly the UK’s most vulnerable citizens, advice on how to protect themselves against fraud while using the internet.

However, despite their best efforts, the statistics tell a worrying story.

According to Financial Fraud Action UK, internet banking losses rose by an incredible 27 per cent over the last year, leaving the UK’s consumers £51.2 million out of pocket.

This is despite the assurances of banks and other service providers that their online account management is the safest it has ever been.

Many people feel compelled to make the ‘digital leap’ after relentless pressure by many of the UK’s big businesses; in some cases people are moved online without even being consulted.

However, recent adopters are much more likely to be people who are unfamiliar with the perils and pitfalls of the internet.

While the internet undoubtedly offers many perks, if a user doesn’t have basic digital skills they are far more susceptible to being preyed on by unscrupulous fraudsters, particularly if they are using it to manage something as sensitive as their finances.

The Keep Me Posted campaign, wants everyone to have the option to manage their bills and statements in a manner that is appropriate for them.

Not everyone is willing or ready to go online and the UK’s service providers have no right to make that decision on behalf of consumers.

While Get Safe Online Week is an admirable cause, we must make sure that such initiatives are in place to empower people to make this choice, rather than as a reaction to the bullying of big businesses.

Judith Donovan CBE

chair, Keep Me Posted