Global tech support provider iYogi serves customers in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and the UAE. When subscribers have problems, they turn to iYogi's support agents. All too often, those problems relate to cybercrime. The company's iYogi Insights initiative surveyed almost two thousand subscribers, asking ten very detailed security questions designed to measure "their understanding of online security, cybercrime, information sharing and related issues." Some of the results are quite shocking.
Almost 30 percent of those responding reported having been victimized by online scams, identity theft, or credit card fraud. Nearly 10 percent of the victims suffered all three—a trifecta of fraud. Four in five respondents use the Internet for banking or shopping, yet according to a separate study by McAfee, almost one in five Americans goes online without any kind of security protection. Most likely the repeat victims fall into that unprotected group.
A Fool and His Money...
It's no big news that people get scammed and robbed online. The real shocker in iYogi's report is how thoroughly ignorant people are about how to protect their sensitive information. 30 percent didn't grasp that hackers might use their date of birth in committing identity theft, for example, and 11 percent wouldn't hesitate to reveal their bank account numbers.
Worse, 10 percent see no need to protect their credit card numbers. Well, we already knew from the @NeedADebitCard Twitter feed that people will post un-redacted images of their credit and debit cards online, so perhaps this shouldn't come as a surprise.
A fraudster attempting to hack your identity will be thrilled to get personal details like your email account, your home address, or your employer's name. Yet fully five percent of the respondents didn't see a need to protect any of the data referenced by the survey.
Social Media Leaks
If your Facebook page isn't private, it's a gold mine for fraudsters. Does your profile include your parent's names? Your high school? The names of your pets? These are exactly the types of personal details that sites use for security questions. A scan of your Facebook page might well provide enough information for a crook to reset the password and take over your email account... or your bank account.
Now would be a good time to double-check that you've made your social media accounts private, and that your friends have done the same. Consider, too, how much detail you really need to include in your profile. Your good friends already know that stuff, right? Sure, you could still be hit by fraud or identity theft, but there's no point in handing your personal details to the crooks on a silver platter.
The full report, with plenty of illustrative charts and graphics, is available on iYogi's website.