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  • Writer's pictureJared Thompson

Email and Social Media hacks cost businesses £3.8 Million in the last 12 months

Unsecured social media and email accounts with organisations, such as limited companies, sole traders and charities, reported losing £3.8 million to these crimes to hackers between February 2020 and February 2021.

Alongside The City of London Police, the Cyber Resilience Centre wants to reaffirm the message for you to secure your social media and email accounts. Criminals managed to compromise more than 15,000 accounts in the past year.

The national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, Action Fraud, received 15,214 reports of email and social media hacking between February 2020 and February 2021 – with 88 per cent of victims being individuals who had their personal accounts compromised by criminals. 23% of victims were aged between 20 and 29.

For organisations, such as limited companies, sole traders and charities, there were significantly fewer reports (1,741 reports of hacking), they reported loses of £3.8 million to these crimes compared to the £283,500 lost by individual victims.
Over 15,000 people reported their email or social media accounts were hacked last year.

The NFIB's research showed that during the financial year 19/20, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat were the most reported platforms on which people compromised their social media accounts.

One business account that saw its Instagram hacked, was extorted for money to regain access to the account. The suspect continued to demand more money, despite the business originally paying the first ransomware demand.

When your social media or email accounts are compromised, the loss isn’t just financial. Research conducted by the NFIB found that victims said having their account compromised has a significant or severe emotional impact, as intimate photos and private details can be exposed.

How can I protect myself and my business and keep my accounts secure?

  • When did you last update your password? Ensure you use a strong and separate password to protect your email - Don't use the same password on multiple accounts! Ensure you protect your other important accounts, such as banking or social media.

  • Always enable two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA is simple to set up and will help you stop hackers from getting into your online accounts, even if they find your password.

  • Be wary of messages which ask for your login details or authentication codes. Despite some messages appearing genuine or claiming to be from someone you know.

  • Use online support or help pages. If you can't access your account, you'll often find information about how to recover your account.

  • Always report suspicious emails you have received. Please forward scam emails to And suspicious texts you have received but not acted upon to 7726.

  • Secure your Instagram account by following us, and we share a range of daily security tips and guidance.

What can I do if my account has been compromised?

If you lose access to your account or a hacker has taken control, please follow the NCSC’s guidance on recovering a compromised account.

If you receive a demand for money, do not pay the suspect to regain access to your account. It’s likely that the suspect will demand more money instead of giving you control of your account back.

If you have paid any money, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online or call 0300 123 2040 as soon as possible. Learn more about How to Report Cyber Crime from our help pages.


How can we support your business?

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Raise your staff's awareness of phishing emails and guard your business against the growing trend of social-engineering threats.


Training your employees on what a phishing attack looks like makes them more likely to identify and report scams.

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Our training package is designed and delivered by cyber experts giving you access to the most up-to-date information in an ever-changing cyber landscape.

You can purchase single-place training spots or a cyber security workshop.

Community Members

Our premium membership package is aimed at medium-sized businesses and includes bespoke security awareness training sessions.


This allows your business to train several cyber security champions and an assessment of your cyber risk. 

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