UK shoppers at risk of losing £1.76 million through phone theft

What Mobile
April 6, 2020

  • 14,740 consumers in the UK are at risk of losing up to £1.76 million through storing their card details on their phones, new research shows. 
  • 22% of shoppers put their card details into their phone, with around 67,000 mobile phones stolen each year – or 183 per day. 
  • Thieves can make up to four contactless payments with a stolen phone before needing to input the PIN.
  • With the contactless limit set to increase from £30 to £45, the potential loss per stolen phone could rise from £120 to £180.

A staggering £1,768,800 could be lost in the UK as a result of phone theft, with 22% of consumers storing their card details on their phone in 2019, a new study shows.

The research shows that 14,740 – or 95% – of UK households own a mobile phone, with digital wallets accounting for 29% of online transactions over the last year. According to previous reports, around 183 phones are stolen in the UK each day.

With the contactless limit currently set at £30 and up to four contactless payments possible before a PIN is required, shoppers could stand to lose £120 before they notice their phone has been taken.

This figure could rise substantially given that banks are increasing the contactless limit up to £45 to assist retailers who are struggling due to the coronavirus outbreak. If the raised limit stays in effect over the next year, shoppers could lose £180 each – equating to £2.6 million across all stolen handsets.

Those who keep their bank details stolen on their phone are also vulnerable to hacking, with the demographic most at risk being those aged 45-54. In fact, Generation X are 47% more likely to be targeted by thieves. Android users should be particularly vigilant, with more than 12 million handsets no longer supported by key security updates. In 2019, 40% of Android users were running older iterations of the software that was no longer receiving security updates from Google.

With an average of £833.54 taken with each instance of cyber-fraud, it’s never been more important to increase the phone and digital wallet security – including setting secure passwords, keeping your phone in a safe place when in public and encrypting your valuable data.

That’s because Brits aren’t any less at risk of hacking just because they’re socially isolating; online transactions and third-party app downloads are likely to increase – such as House Party, which recently came under scrutiny over staged hacking concerns.

To read more about the UK’s shift to digital payment methods and how it could impact society. To read more about the impacts of digital exclusion in Global Payment Methods, visit: 

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