A NEW website to help prevent over 58,000 online frauds which are reported nationally each year - at an estimated annual cost of £4,005,970 to internet users in Lancashire - has been launched.

AvoidOnlineScams.net is a free online resource that offers impartial advice to consumers who have been targeted and scammed out of over £216m across the UK in the last 12 months.

It has been developed by online cash payment provider, Ukash to help internet users fight back against the increasingly sophisticated tactics deployed by international cyber criminals.

Fraudsters use malicious software known as ‘ransomware’ to target internet users and dupe them into handing over money. Tactics include using the ransomware to encrypt and block files on a user’s computer before demanding money to unlock them.

Features on AvoidOnlineScams.net include the latest videos, news, FAQs and other resources to help prevent web users from falling victim to a scam, whilst offering solutions to those who have already been targeted and need immediate help.

Action Fraud UK, the national reporting centre for financial crime reports that 41% of all calls made to Action Fraud are reporting cybercrime.

David Cox, Head of Customer Experience for Ukash commented, “We’ve seen a sharp rise in online ransomware scams in the last 12 months, with many internet users feeling powerless to prevent it happening to them. We also noticed that there was no single, central hub of expert advice and information available online to help those most affected.

“We’ve therefore created the site in partnership with Action Fraud, Europol and major internet security companies so it is completely impartial and draws on the best advice from around the web, including the Home Office’s new ‘Be Cyber Streetwise’ campaign. I’d recommend all internet users check out the site as prevention is better than the cure. The nation being more clued-up to the latest ransomware scams is the only way we’ll defeat this global problem.”