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Report: Aussies feeling increasingly unsafe online in the face of scams and AI

A new report suggests that the rising rate of scams, combined with fear over how generative AI engines may be using their data, is making Australians feel unsafe online.

user icon David Hollingworth
Mon, 21 Aug 2023
Report: Aussies feeling increasingly unsafe online in the face of scams and AI
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Scams are becoming particularly widespread, with the report – commissioned by Real Insurance working with consumer research specialists CoreData – finding that 47 per cent of Australians have been targeted by some form of scam.

Smishing and phishing scams are the most prevalent, with 50 per cent of the more than 5,000 Australians polled saying they’ve been the target or know someone who’s been targeted. Online shopping scams have affected 38 per cent of respondents, with technical support scams impacting 32 per cent.

Those who have fallen victim to scams lose, on average, $4,307, with 45 per cent of people unable to recover any funds lost to fraud. Aside from the financial cost, those targeted by scams report an impact on their mental health. In fact, one in five Australians rated the impact “considerable”.

Scams are also more likely to target older Australians.

The impacts and influence of social media are also a point of friction. While 98 per cent of parents polled are concerned about what their children are doing online, 85 per cent of families still allow children under 18 to access the internet while at home. Roughly one in families with three kids below 18 says that they’ve seen inappropriate content online, while one in four families has kids that have experienced online abuse and bullying.

Kids are also more likely to make unauthorised purchases online, and one in five have been the target of scams themselves.

TikTok is particularly concerning, with 80 per cent of parents worried about data security on the app.

“Sadly, many parents do not have an in-depth understanding of the reality of the online world and base their opinions on their own experiences, which will not mirror that of their children,” said Susan McLean of CyberSafety Solutions. “Whilst the results show that parents have a degree of concern, they do not always adequately educate themselves so that they are able to effectively parent in the digital space.”

Artificial intelligence (AI) safety is another thing on Australian minds. Sixty-nine per cent of Australians who are currently using generative AI in some form are worried about what happens to the data they are sharing with these tools.

Finally, Australians largely feel there needs to be harsher penalties for cyber criminals. Eighty-nine per cent feel foreign companies should also be penalised if they pose a risk themselves.

You can read the full Real Digital Risk Report 2023 here.

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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