Online crime and ID theft top Britons concerns

The recession is fuelling fear of identity theft and fraud amongst people, according to new security research.

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Three quarters (73%) of UK citizens predict an increase in risk of identity theft and fraud due to the recession, according to the latest Security Index report from Unisys.

Nearly 1,000 Britons were polled by the software and services firm for the biannual study that measures consumers' perceptions about security.

The index found that 88 percent are worried about criminals obtaining and using their credit card or bank details, and then gain unauthorised access to or misuse their personal information.

The Security Index, which measures the level of security concern among respondents, rose 20 percent from a figure of 135 a year ago to 150 this year. The Index on internet security rose from 105 a year ago to 121 out of a possible 300. However UK residents are most concerned about financial security, with an index of 150.

The study also found Britons worry more about fraud, ID theft and national security than they do about personal safety.

Nearly seven out of 10 UK citizens fear the recession will increase the chances of them falling victim to identity theft and consequent crimes.

More than one third (40%) worry about viruses and spam, and concern levels have risen significantly since a well-publicised viral attack impacted Ministry of Defence's computer systems in January.

"The current economic climate is forcing many businesses to cut costs but a real or perceived frop in spending on security can have a major impact on consumer confidence," said Neil Fisher, VP Global Security Solutions at Unisys.

"Now is not the time for UK plc to take it eye off the ball when it comes to keeping customers sake and protected."