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.
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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.