Online fraud against UK citizens has become a topic for widespread discussion as more avenues for data theft are opened to criminals. Below Finance Monthly discusses with experts at Money Guru, the true value of your personal data and the cost of keeping it safe.

Experian places the annual cost of fraud against Brits at £6.8bn and, with more and more of our personal information available online, it’s likely to rise unless proper precautions are taken.

If you aren’t savvy with your data, which includes everything from social media logins to financial details, it could end up being available to malicious actors online through channels like the dark web.

Personal finance experts Money Guru have conducted research on several Dark Web marketplaces to find the average cost of stolen data. Their findings are shocking to say the least.

You could have access to someone’s entire online identity is available for less than £750.

26 of the most commonly used accounts available on the Dark Web, can be purchased for a grand total of… £744.30.

Digging deeper into the online services that each individual Brit is likely to use, it becomes even more shocking with the full details of 16 accounts including finance, travel, entertainment and email credentials, available for £696.90.

Let’s look at each individual data classification to find out how the loss of even one set of account details could seriously affect you.

Financial Information

Scammers can buy credit card and debit card details, online banking logins, passwords and PayPal account information – that’s all of these combined - for £619.40. This not only allows malicious actors access to your funds, but also a wealth of personal data that can be used for identity fraud.

Online Shopping Details

You may not be overly concerned with the security of your online shopping accounts, but they provide a great level of insight into your transactional habits as well as providing criminals the ability to order products through your account via a mail drop.

Travel Account Information

With access to accounts like Uber and Airbnb, malicious actors are given access to a lot of sensitive locational data. Not only can they access the basic details you enter to create an account, they will also be able to monitor your travel habits.

Entertainment Account Information
It’s tough to find someone who doesn’t have a Spotify or Netflix account these days making them a popular target for online criminals. At the less serious end of the spectrum it enables access to free entertainment while on the more sinister side it provides password clues to other associated accounts.

Social Media Account Information

There are few better methods of gaining insight into someone’s life than their social media accounts. These details are frequently stolen to sell to companies with little scruples about targeted advertising. It’s also a fast track to identity theft.

Email & Mobile Account Data

Being able to access emails and mobile account data provides fraudsters with a treasure trove of information about their target. It offers a jump off point for the popular, low-effort practice of spear-phishing – where a malicious actor tries to gain the credentials to more valuable accounts via social engineering and malware.

To compile this study, Money Guru accessed some of the most popular dark web marketplaces (‘Dream Market’, ‘Wall St Market’ and ‘Berlusconi Market’) to find an average price for each piece of personal data.

The big takeaway from their research is that your personal data really isn’t worth a great deal to online criminals. While the average amount stolen from a UK fraud victim is relatively small, 39% of cases result in £250 or more being stolen. In 25% of cases, this amount can vary from £500-£40,000.

The fact that it costs scammers less than £750 to access 26 accounts when it would only take a fraction of this number to potentially access tens of thousands is a frightening one.