Passcode complacency has cost us £670 million in 12 months

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Less than 35 per cent of tablet owners use a passcode to protect it – allowing fraudsters to fleece £670 million from victims since September last year.

Figures have been released by Northants Police as Get Safe Online Week launches nationwide today and families are urged to be as cautious as possible.

More than half of mobile phone users and around a third of laptop owners in the UK do not have a password or passcode for their device.

That figure rises to 59 per cent for PC users and 67 per cent of tablet owners.

Police advise checking privacy settings on Facebook and Twitter, protecting home Wi-Fi with a hard-to-guess password and always logging out of online accounts.

Officers also recommend installing anti-virus software and not directly transferring money to a bank account when bidding in auctions.

But the ‘first line of defence’ is making sure there is a password or PIN number on mobile phones, laptops, tablets and desktop computers.

Northants Police is supporting the campaign on its website and on social media, using #GetSafeOnline.

Online-enabled fraud cases totalled £670 million across the UK between September 2013 and September 2014.

More than 50 per cent of people now see online crimes as equally serious as ‘physical world’ crimes but the force’s Get Safe Online poll has shocked 45 per cent into choosing a more complicated password and 37 per cent now always log out of accounts when they go offline.

For more advice on how to stay safe online go to www.GetSafeOnline.org