Consumers Warned Against Online Sharing


Paypal has issued a stark warning to consumers to take stock of where their details are held online, and carefully consider the sensitivity of the information they provide.

In the continued fight to protect personal data in Cyberspace, the e-payments giant has joined forces with Crime Stoppers to warn Australians against sharing their personal information online.

The call comes as Paypal revealed the results of a new survey, which shows that despite 75 percent of Australians showing concern about their data online, almost 50 percent say they don’t know how many websites hold their personal details.

The electronic payments company revealed its survey in support of National Cyber Security Awareness week. It revealed that of those who don’t know where their information is stored, almost half submitted their details to more than five accounts.

Australians’ personal information is stored most commonly in social networking sites and online bank accounts, but data was also though to be stored on online shopping sites, online newsletters, recruitment services and real estate websites.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, more than $63 million has been lost as a result of cyber crime. As a result, PayPal is calling on Australians to audit their digital footprint and monitor the trail of personal and financial information they leave online.

According to its online survey, nearly 60 percent of consumers use the same password across multiple accounts.

 “Many Australian consumers are unaware of the size and impact of the digital footprint they leave when interacting online.  Whilst 75 per cent of Australians surveyed are concerned about the amount of information they share online, they continue to share their details across multiple accounts, often using the same password.” said Frerk-Malte Feller, managing director, PayPal Australia. 


“Whilst the majority of Australians surveyed believe they know the steps to protect themselves online, many continue to share their personal and financial information irresponsibly, highlighting a clear disconnect between what consumers actually know and what they think they know.  Ignorance can be dangerous, and our aim is to close this knowledge gap by continually educating consumers on how to minimise their online exposure and footprint, and their risk of falling victim to cyber crime,” said Feller.

Peter Price OAM, Chief Executive, Crime Stoppers, said: “The online space is continuously and rapidly evolving as cyber criminals appear to be more scrupulous and creative in the ways they steal from Australians, masquerading as bona fide organisations. It is imperative consumers understand how they can protect themselves from online crime. Education and knowledge is the key to Australians remaining diligent and staying one-step ahead of cyber criminals. Assessing with whom and where they are sharing their personal information is an important first step.”

To help Australians minimise their digital footprint, PayPal has the following tips:

* Remove yourself from old mailing lists and consolidate your details using trusted tools such as PayPal to store your personal financial information securely.

* Never click ‘remember my details’ on sites, and ensure that your privacy settings are activated on Social Networking sites.

* Employ password etiquette – using the same password on multiple sites is like using the same key for your house, your car, and your office.  Tier your passwords depending on the sensitivity of the information you are sharing, check the strength of your passwords, and change them every few months. Finally, never keep your personal information documented in any one place on your computer.

* Read the terms and conditions available on sites before entering your details – understand how your details will be used and shared.

* Be wary of clicking on links in emails to log into your online accounts. 

* Always look for the padlock icon on sites before entering your financial information.


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