A new survey has pointed out that Australians are falling victim to online identity theft at an increasing rate.
The survey of 2500 Australians found that one in 10 had fallen victim to online identity theft in the past 12 months and each lost an average of 1000 dollars as a result.
If the survey results are extrapolated nationally, it means 1.37 million Australian Internet users have been the victims of fraudsters, costing them 1.3 billion dollars in a single year.
About 60 per cent of survey respondents said they'd encountered fraudulent emails and websites in the past year.
The survey found complacency was a major factor in identity theft, with Gen Y users the least likely to check for security features before handing over sensitive information.
Some 69 per cent users aged 18-24 admitted they failed to do so every time they gave out information such as bank and credit card details.
People aged over 50 were among the most security savvy, with about 45 per cent regularly checking for online safeguards.
VeriSign said the best way for users to guard against identity theft was to look for security features that are built into legitimate sites and correspondence.
"It's in the best interest of organisations that have a major online presence to give Australians the confidence that they have implemented enhanced security methods," News.com.au quoted Alastair MacGibbon of the Internet Safety Institute as saying.
Galaxy Research conducted the survey for VeriSign.