Cybertheft is the UK's most feared crime, outranking burglary, assault and robbery according to a study of more than 1,400 regular internet users by Tickbox.net.
About one in three people in the study had been affected by some form of cybertheft over the internet including fraudulent e-mails, credit card fraud, and unauthorised bank transfers. Amounts taken ranged from just a few pounds to several thousand pounds.
The survey shows that financial transactions over the internet are on the rise with 85% of people using the internet for shopping and over two-thirds doing their banking online, but as many as 87% admitted they were worried about the threat of cybertheft.
Although 90% said they had some form of threat protection on their computer, 33% said they were not convinced they had adequate measures in place to protect themselves. Just 3% said they used no protection at all, but 25% said there was not enough information available on cybertheft to then to protect themselves adequately.
Liverpool is the city most afraid of cybertheft with 93% citing it as a concern, followed by Glasgow with 92% and Cardiff third with 91%.
"While the risks of theft over the internet are real, it is important to keep it in perspective," said Larry Bridwell, global security strategist at AVG.
He said there were a number of things that could be done, such as installing internet security software and updating it regularly, using only industry-recognised internet-payment systems, and checking that payment sites are secure by looking for the padlock symbol on the screen.