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Australians least likely to fall for online scams

PC Tools study of US, UK and Australian respondents shows Australians least, Americans most likely to get conned

Australians least likely to fall for online scams
The study showed that Australians are least likely to be pulled in by online scams.

Australians are the less likely to be taken in by online scams than internet users in the UK or US, according to a study by AV company PC Tools and the Ponemon Institute.

In a web-base study, Australians were the least likely to be fooled by a variety of online scenarios that are typical used to conceal scams.

The survey gathered responses from just over 4,000 internet users, aged 16-65, across the three countries. While half or more of all respondents across all countries were sceptical of online advertisers motives, believing them to be attempts to trick or steal personal data, the survey showed that in terms of behaviour, users were much more susceptible than they thought.

The survey showed a clear difference between how aware consumers think they are of the and how likely they are to be taken in. In a ‘scam index' created for the study, Australian respondents ranked positive overall (0.11) , meaning they are less likely to be taken in by any of the scam scenarios presented, while US respondents had an overall negative score (-0.3), while the UK was somewhere in the middle (-0.12).

The scam most likely to fool all users took the form of an online quiz, where the respondent would be told they had won the prize, ranging from a free ringtone to a free tablet, and that they had to provide their mobile number to receive the prize. 55% of US respondents said they were likely to give over their mobile numbers, compared to 46% of UK respondents, and 37% of Australian respondents. Americans ranked as more likely, and Australians as least likely, to fall for all of the scams, which included offers of free online anti-virus (US 53%, Australia 36%, UK 44%), get rich quick opportunities (US 53%, Australia 35% UK 44%) and online shopping registration (US 46%, Australia 29%, UK 35%).

The study also showed that the most educated people are least likely to fall for a scam, with those that only hold a senior/secondary school qualification most likely to be susceptible.

Richard Clooke, Online Security Expert, PC Tools, commented: "The longer term concern is that while many of us think that we are too savvy for online scams, the research demonstrates otherwise. Unless consumer behavior is addressed through education, the incidence of cybercriminals seeking to cash in on consumer trust and naivety online is likely to increase exponentially."

Clooke said that while normal online security software can protect against recognizable malware, scams such as the ones in the survey, that simply trick the user into voluntarily handing over personal data, need other forms of protection, along with better end user awareness and education.

"Whether it's a get-rich-quick scheme or an offer to download the latest movie, when an offer is too good to be true , the new scam protection from PC Tools asks you to think twice about sharing your personal and financial information online" said Clooke.

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