Survey Finds One in Ten Consumers Have Lost Money to Online Fraud

Consumers also report concern about safety while shopping, banking and browsing online, and concern is higher in the Americas and Asia than in Europe.

Helsinki, Finland – September 17, 2013: 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

Using a little caution can help lower your chances of being victimized by a fraudster.

  • 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
  • Use Internet security software from a trusted company like F-Secure. F-Secure Internet Security provides the best protection for your computer and online life, blocking viruses, spyware and malware and protecting you while banking, shopping and surfing. You can try it for free.

*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.