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Australians unaware of the size of their online digital footprint

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digitalfootprintNew research for National Cyber Security Awareness Week has uncovered an alarming complacency when it comes to sharing personal information online.

PayPal Australia’s study showed that while Australians are tech savvy they still know a lot less than they think about their online footprint.

Of the 1000 people surveyed by PayPal Australia, the company that makes it easy and secure to pay and receive money online, 55 per cent said they were unsure how many websites held their personal information.

Almost a third (32 per cent) said they were not certain if they could identify a scam or a risky website.

The online threat has hit close to home with 23 per cent saying they knew someone who had their personal details stolen online while one in five (19 per cent) knew a person who had lost money in an online scam or fraud.

“While Australians have become more comfortable browsing, shopping and connecting online, they are often unaware of the size and impact of their digital footprint,” Adrian Christie, PayPal spokesperson said.

“Our research found that 75 per cent of Australians surveyed said they were concerned about the amount of information they share online, yet we are seeing a strong disconnect between what consumers know and what they think they know.”

By joining social networks and creating an online account with a retailer or other website many Australians were unaware they were expanding their digital footprint and thereby some of their personal information online.

PayPal is working with the Centre for Internet Safety (CIS) to help educate consumers about managing their digital footprint.

Some of these tips include:

* Audit: Check where your personal information is being held and cull anything you don’t need. Remove yourself from old mailing lists.

* Think twice before entering your personal details online and be sure privacy settings are activated on social networking sites.

* Only use trusted sites and services online like PayPal and other secure platforms. Look for the padlock symbol on websites – which indicates a secure site – before offering financial information.

* Beware of imitations – cyber criminals try and make users think they are receiving messages from trusted companies and try and trick you into entering personal information or account information and passwords. Check the website address or URL carefully before you proceed.

“More than five million Australians have signed up to PayPal to protect their financial details when transacting online. In doing so, they can transact at more than 80,000 Australian retail partners, without ever having to give their personal details, protected by PayPal’s Buyer Protection policy – ensuring consumers are safeguarded from fraud while shopping online,” Mr Christie said.

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