One in ten consumers lost money to online fraud

More than one in ten consumers globally have been victims of online fraud that cost them money, according to a recent F-Secure survey which fleshed out consumer concerns about online safety. The survey also showed that computers and laptops are regarded as the most risky devices to go online with.

12% of Europeans report having lost money to online fraud, compared to 17% of non-Europeans. The UK had the highest level inside Europe with 17%, and outside Europe, the US and Malaysia were highest, both at 20%.

Lower reported levels of online fraud could also explain why Europeans express less concern about online safety and potential fraud than Brazilians, Americans, Malaysians, and others. In Europe, 68% of people are concerned about being victims of fraud when shopping online, and 61% of people when banking online. In the rest of the countries surveyed, however, the numbers are 87% and 84% respectively.

More people are concerned about online safety when using computers than when using mobile devices and tablets. 69% of consumers globally are concerned about whether they are safe when using a computer or laptop for everyday activities like browsing, shopping, reading, mailing and gaming. 54% are concerned when using mobile devices, and only 43% with tablets.

When asked about the types of devices they use to go online, 89% of people use Windows computers or laptops, 39% use Android smartphones, 24% use iPhones, 22% use Android tablets, 20% iPads, 16% use Apple computers, and 16% use Windows smartphones.

Respondents showed high levels of awareness about the importance of using up-to-date software, with 77% of people reporting that they are aware that not updating their software may create security vulnerabilities. 86% say they apply regular software updates on their computer, and 59% on their mobile.

Tips for avoiding online fraud:

  • Use a unique password for each account, with a mixture of letters, numbers and special characters
  • Only give your personal or financial information to reputable sites you know you can trust, and only on pages with “HTTPS” in the URL
  • Avoid doing purchasing or banking from shared or public computers, or over public WiFi
  • Watch out for phishing emails that pretend to be your bank or another organization
  • Don’t click on links or open attachments in suspicious emails
  • Make sure your browser and software are up-to-date
  • If you have kids, be aware of what your child is clicking. Many “offers” are designed to look like entertainment for children
  • Beware of offers that seem too good to be true – they probably are
  • Review your bank and credit card statements regularly to make sure no transactions are happening without your knowledge.

The F-Secure Digital Lifestyle Survey 2013 covered web interviews of 6,000 broadband subscribers aged 20-60 years from 15 countries: Germany, Italy, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Poland, the USA, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Australia and Malaysia. The survey was completed by GfK, April 2013.

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