Letter: Companies that force us to pay online should protect us from cybercrime

Angela Hewitt shares a letter she’s sent to the Isle of Wight MP, arguing that the cost of online protection should be met by the companies that force us to pay online

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OnTheWight always welcomes a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below.

This open letter from Angela Hewitt, to Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Bob Seely. Ed

Dear Mr Seely

I have just completed a survey on cybercrime for the police. While completing this survey it occurred to me that we are being “bullied” by various service companies i.e electricity, banking, tax, VAT, rates to do returns and payments online.

This is saving them millions of pounds. In the meantime we can be put at risk from cybercrime by being forced to do things online and this risk is increasing. It costs money to get online protection. This cost should be paid by the companies that insist on us doing things online.

The risk of fraudulent copycat sites
There needs to be a campaign to reduce our risk and for those companies that are  increasing our risk to cover the cost of our online protection.

They will argue that their system is safe. But that is not the point. The fact we have to go online opens us up to fraudulent copycat sites which we mistakenly think are the real deal. 

Proof more needs to be done
The fact that as you say in your newsletter that “last year almost £350,000 of charitable donations ended up in the pockets of criminals over the festive period last year” proves that more need to be done and that those companies that force us to go online need to be the ones that cover the cost. 

This will get worse and needs to be addressed now. Thank you.

Image: Jonathan Velasquez under CC BY 2.0

Saturday, 19th December, 2020 11:09am


ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2o92

Filed under: Island-wide, Letter to the Editor, Police, Top story

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6 Comments on "Letter: Companies that force us to pay online should protect us from cybercrime"

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“It costs money to get online protection.” If someone has told you it costs money to protect yourself from online fraud, then you are – somewhat ironically – being scammed. There’s no software you can buy that’s going to stop you from entering your credit card details on a fraudulent site you visit. You just need to exercise common sense. Don’t click on links or attachments in… Read more »

All of that is very true, you are unlikely to be scammed if you are careful about who you are paying. Be especially careful when paying for “one-offs” such as house buying as it has been known for emails from solicitors to be intercepted. In those circumstances I would phone and check the bank details before activating the transfer.

Angela Hewitt
Thank you for your comments. Giles is completely right but not everyone checks which is why there is a problem. Regarding not being bullied. You HAVE to do VAT returns on line. Next year you HAVE to do Tax returns on line. I frequently get scam emails from someone saying I am due a tax refund – absolute nonsense of course. This is just the beginning. It… Read more »
Mark L Francis

If you pay at the red Funnel ferry terminal they charge you quite a lot more (is it £20 now?) than if you pay online.


Nobody is “bullied” into paying online, you can pay for utilities by cheque if you really want to. You will be charged more because of the higher cost of processing. The companies are saving you money through online payment processing as it is far cheaper to do, anyone with a business bank account will confirm that fact.


Being asked to move with the times is not the same as being bullied. It’s all about being careful and not clicking on dodgy links.