Half the UK population is not worried about the rise in online fraud and feel there is little they can do to prevent fraud from happening, according to new research.

Online banking and internet shopping is getting more popular by the day. But linked closely with the increase in web spending is the rise in internet fraud. However, apparently over a quarter of Britons believe that internet fraud does not concern them because 'these things happen', a report by Lloyds TSB shows.

Many respondents said they thought there was little they could do to prevent fraud from happening. Nine out of ten said they believed they had done all they could to minimise their risk of being targeted by cyber criminals. However almost a quarter of those admitted they could be better informed about online security.

"Internet fraud is an issue no one can afford to ignore and it is by no means a victimless crime," said Ian Larkin, managing director of consumer banking for Lloyds TSB.

Cyber crime far-reaching

"Its impact stretches far beyond the customer whose money is taken and the bank it is taken from, with the proceeds often used to fund other more serious crime around the world."

He added that sitting back doing nothing is the best way to become a victim of online fraud. He urged online bankers to choose strong passwords, keep their computers updated and their details secret at all times.

A recent survey by Microsoft demonstrated the prevalence of cyber crimes, showing that nearly one in five US internet users had been a victim of at least one scam. Some 81 per cent of these victims admitted they had done something to compromise their own security, such as opening an email message that appeared to be from a legitimate person or company.

Many are still not getting the message about online crime. "Most surprising was the fact that more than half of those surveyed admitted that they had little or no knowledge of current online threats and scams," said Adrienne Hall, senior director of communications and marketing at Microsoft.

"Unfortunately, this is why people continue to fall victim to these crimes."