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Sunday, 19 April 2009 13:11

Concerns about cyber fraud loom during economic crisis

There’s real concern amongst Australian consumers who do their shopping, make payments and undertake banking transactions online that the current economic crisis has increased the risk of their identity being stolen or that they will be the target of cyber criminals.

Consumers surveyed by Unisys says they are worried about online criminals obtaining their credit or debit card details or gaining unauthorised access to, or misuse of, their personal information.

According to a report just released by Unisys in its Security Index, the majority of Australians say they believe the current economic crisis will increase their level risk of identity theft and related crime as a result of the global economic crisis.  Unisys says 63 percent of those consumers surveyed thought they were at increased risk, with only three percent believing their risk would decrease.

VP and general manager of Unisys Asia Pacific, Andrew Barkla, says the feedback from consumers was reinforced by the fact that there was a seven point increase in the internet security index and a four point rise in concern about financial fraud, which helped move the Unisys Index slightly higher to 115 for the first survey for 2009.

“The global economic downturn is clearly starting to bite, with an increase in concerns about the security of online activities such as shopping and/or banking as well as growing concern about financial fraud; both issues which people perceive to be a greater risk in a declining economy.”

In fact, two of the top three security issues of concern for Australians are directly related to identity theft and crime, according to Unisys:

• Other people obtaining credit card / debit card details
• Unauthorised access to or misuse of personal information
• Australia’s national security in relation to war/terrorism

“Regardless of the reality of actual risk, it is a time in which Australians need greater overt assurances that their private and personal information is securely protected against fraudulent and criminal activity to build confidence in the measures that are in place,” Barkla said.

The Unisys Security Index for April 2009 stands at 115 points out of a maximum of 300 with 3 out of 4 indices recording an increase in concern:

• National Security – 115 (-1)
• Financial Security – 125 (+3)
• Internet Security -107 (+7)
• Personal Security – 114 (+3)

And, when asked what impact they believed the global economic crisis might have on their own personal level of risk of identity theft and related crime, Australians responded that they believed they would be more at risk:

• Greatly Increase – 19%
• Increase somewhat – 44%
• Not change – 29%
• Decrease somewhat – 2%
• Greatly decrease – 1%


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