Online fraud attacks are on the rise in U.S, with four in ten Americans facing such attempts daily or weekly via their personal computers says a recent survey from Microsoft.
Among the range of electronic devices people use today, PCs remain as the most potential device for such attacks.
To be precise 42 percent of Americans surveyed report experiencing weekly and even daily efforts by criminals to gain access on their PCs compared to 18 percent reporting daily or weekly fraud attempts via mobile phones; 28 percent via landline telephones, and 22 percent via tablet computers.
However, the survey shows there is a big jump in the number of users taking affirmative steps to help protect their mobile devices. Seventy-three percent of this year’s respondents said they take steps to protect themselves on mobile devices, up 25 percentage points from similar data compiled in 2012.
Popular ways to keep mobile devices safe include downloading apps from trusted companies or publishers; regularly updating mobile programs and apps; using a four-digit PIN or passcode to lock the mobile device; and opting for a more current mobile operating system.
Among the various types of scams, general scams worry them the most, with nearly two-thirds of respondents (65 percent vs. 54 percent in 2012) voicing concerns about schemes such as phishing, spear-phishing, fake websites and healthcare scams.
Fears about shopping scams grew the most, up six percentage points from two years ago to 60 percent. In addition, concerns about several specific scam and fraud methods increased, with fake websites and major event scams up 13 and 12 percentage points, respectively — the two largest category increases since 2012.
Meanwhile, the average number of traditional scams that consumers experienced fell by more than half (53 percent), as the incidence of a number of more traditional scams also dropped. Lottery and other advance-fee fraud scams, for example, both dropped by nine percentage points each, the most of the more traditional scams.
The survey results also show users are experiencing new scams associated with social networking sites, as well as an uptake in telephone fraud, raising the total number of scams experienced back to 2012 levels.
Criminals are eager to gain access to people’s private account and other sensitive personal data because such information is extremely valuable — not only to attempt to perpetrate a one-time fraud and also to commit identity theft.