E-identity, Security & Online Fraud

Smartphone users more susceptible to identity fraud

Monday 9 December 2013 | 08:39 AM CET

Smartphone users are 33% more likely to become victims of identity fraud, the most common scams involving fraudulent e-commerce transactions referring to fake items or tickets, counterfeit products, alleged free trials, data phishing and the purchasing of used cars online, recent statistics indicate.

According to data from the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net), the advent of easy-to-use smartphone has increased the likelihood of users being a victim of fraud. Phones tend to be less secure than regular computers, said ECC-Net, who warned that consumers were less vigilant with their personal information when using them.

The same source shows that over 70% of participants reported fraudulent websites, many of which entice consumers by offering items such as phones at cheap prices only to demand further payment for delivery or customs charges.

The survey found that consumers often pay significant amounts of money for tickets that are never delivered and which may not even exist. While more than 30% of participants reported instances of consumers being caught out by ‘free’ trials of a product or service which then turned out to be a front for costly subscription services.

According to the ECC-Net, the proliferation of counterfeit products, reported by 41% of participants is particularly worrying as the purchasing these items is considered a criminal offence in some European countries.

Other growing scams include gaming fraud, animal rescue tricks, and online dating fraud – the latter particularly devastating, as fraudsters often spend long periods of time building a bond with the victim only to then seek money for supposed travel or health issues.

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