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Americans wary of cybercrime
by Konstantin Kornakov | Feb 03 2006 15:16 GMT

A recent survey by IBM has revealed that US consumers think cybercrime is three times more likely to happen to them than physical crime. Interestingly, though, only 6% of respondents reported that they had been victims of cybercrime within the past year, compared with the 7% that had fallen victim to physical crime.

Other results from the survey are also extremely surprising and do not bode well for online services involving financial transactions, if security remains in its current state. Some 70% of online shoppers surveyed confirmed they would buy from a trusted e-shop. However, more than half declared themselves to be concerned or very concerned about making purchases from a previously unknown e-retailer. A further third of those questioned were concerned about online banking.

One consequence is that 75% of respondents are already taking steps to ensure their own security. For instance, 70% only use e-shopping sites that show a security protection seal, while 64% don't conduct online transactions from a shared computer. Additionally, half of those questioned don't use open wireless networks in public places, 38% don't bank online and 37% don't reveal their credit card data online. Other people in the survey have gone even further, with 18% having stopped paying bills online and 16% decided not to play any more online games.

Tech-savvy consumers are, therefore, changing the way in which they use technology. For many, the main reason is to protect against identity theft; this reason was put forward by 43% of those asked. Other significant reasons for wanting more protection were the fear of losing money (24%) and harm to credit ratings (13%).