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Internet crime: scarier than mugging?

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The British public fear phishing and 419 scams more than car theft, burglary, and even mugging, according to figures unveiled by government-backed campaign Get Safe Online.

Speaking at the London launch of its first annual report, Get Safe Online MD Tony Neate told The Register: "It's bizarre, but it's what we've got to work with now."

The organisation's research revealed 21 per cent of respondents feel more at risk from internet crime in their everyday lives compared to other types of illegal activity.

Get Safe Online was launched a year ago in a bid to spread the internet security gospel. It gets £150,000 of Cabinet Office funding annually. The rest comes from its sponsors; BT, eBay, and Microsoft among the largest.

Despite the success of raising awareness on the issue, Sharon Lemon, deputy director of e-crime at the Serious and Organised Crime Agency said: "We're the best victims in the world: we're rich and we're sloppy."

She said there is still a lack of dedicated resources for internet investigations in the UK. During a meeting with a Russian internet crime officer, she was told: "I've got to apologise for all our hackers hitting your country, but quite frankly you make it too easy."

Get Safe Online's website, with advice for businesses and individuals, is here. ®

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