Survey says one in 10 is victim of online fraud

LONDON Mon Mar 26, 2007 8:43am BST

1 of 4. An undated file photo of a woman using a computer. One in 10 Internet users fell victim to online fraud last year, losing an average of 875 pounds each, according to a survey on Monday.

Credit: Reuters/Files

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LONDON (Reuters) - One in 10 Internet users fell victim to online fraud last year, losing an average of 875 pounds each, according to a survey on Monday.

Many failed to take basic steps to protect themselves online and fewer than half felt they were wholly responsible for their safety while using the Internet.

Six percent had suffered fraud while shopping online, four percent had experienced general fraud and three percent were subject to bank or credit card crime.

The survey of 2,400 people was carried out by YouGov for Get Safe Online, a campaign group set up by the government, police and private companies.

"We need users to take the same basic precautions in using the Internet as they would when making transactions in the high street, such as not sharing your bank details or passwords," said Cabinet Office minister Pat McFadden.

Nearly half said they did not have protection from spyware, computer software that secretly collects personal information when people use the Internet.

A fifth of those polled said they had replied to spam messages and 10 percent had clicked on an Internet link within a spam e-mail.

Nearly a quarter said most of their online security passwords were the same. Five percent used the same password for every site.

Tony Neate, managing director of Get Safe Online, said people must do more to help prevent fraud.

"If we all take greater care to protect our personal information online, we can reduce the majority of these criminal activities," he said. "Our message is that each one of us has to take greater personal responsibility for our own online security."

Fewer than half of those polled felt responsible for their online safety. One in six said it was down to their bank to protect their details and 13 percent said their Internet service provider must shoulder the burden.

More than three-quarters felt there should be lessons in schools to help children to stay safe on the Internet.

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