Aussie Internet Users Victims Of Fraud

By Branko Miletic

  • 98 percent of Aussies expect to be victims of cybercrime
  • 69 percent are victims of cybercrime
  • Aussies take most care when entering into online transactions

According to security software specialist Symantec, nearly 7 out of 10 Australian have been victims of online fraud. What’s more, only 10 percent of users actually feel safe online, with over half of all respondents saying that once you have been cheated in cyberspace, your online reputation is forever tarnished.

These were just some of the surprising results of the latest report titled Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact, which also found most internet users feel helpless in the face of cybercrime. What was even more pessimistic was that the vast majority of Australians – 98 percent – expect to become a victim at some stage.

The report – which was a survey of over 7,000 adults in 14 countries – also stated that 69 percent of Australians that have been victims of cybercrime are all part of a “silent digital epidemic” that has affected nearly two-thirds (or 65 percent) of global internet users, said the report.

However on the positive side, the study found Australians along with Brazilians are the most careful when transacting online.

The report also revealed that it takes the average Australian victim 29 days to resolve a cybercrime, costing them an average of $608 in out-of-pocket expenses – in addition to the amount of money that was stolen in the first place.

When compared to the overseas average of just over $366, Australians need to be even more vigilant online as it can cost them about 70 percent more than those from other parts of the world.

Dr Raymond Choo, a senior research analyst at the Australian Institute of Criminology, says cybercrime is becoming increasingly pervasive and sophisticated. “Cybercrime appears to be growing in volume and impact,” he said. “It is inevitable that we will see an increase in the variety and volume of financially-motivated cybercriminal activities targeting the Australian public.”

While consumers need to take responsibility for protecting themselves online, Cybercrime expert and former top Australian cyber cop Alastair MacGibbon also says governments could do more to assist.

“It is little wonder victims report a sense of helplessness, when the mechanisms for reporting cybercrimes have not kept pace with our use of internet technologies,” said Dr Choo.

This feeling of online impotence also comes out in the report, which showed that 84 percent of Australian online users think that cybercriminals will never be brought to justice.

Authorities around the country have begun to wake up to online fraud, with Queensland police recently launching a state-wide campaign encouraging online fraud victims to come forward and an inquiry into cyber-crime by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications recommending that Australians be unable to access the internet without having anti-virus and firewall programs installed on their computer.

But despite this recent government action and although 81 percent of online victims do alert police, 28 percent of all Australian victims never resolve the crime and have given up hope of ever finding a resolution, the study found.