Title: Identity theft and privacy – consumer awareness in Ireland

Authors: Aideen Keaney

Addresses: School of Computer Science and Statistics, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Abstract: The increased use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has meant that there is a vast increase in the collection and dissemination of private and confidential information on the web. Many of these systems have been designed and implemented with little regard for security and privacy issues and as a result, cyber crimes such as identity theft have been growing rapidly. Identity theft is one of the primary ways that fraudsters can take advantage of these systems. This paper focuses on consumer awareness of the protective measures they can take to prevent identity theft. The study uses an exploratory approach of measuring the self-reported behaviour of undergraduate students from different disciplines and age cohorts. The results are compared with a similar study of undergraduate students carried out in 2001 by George R.M Milne. In some instances, the US cohort indicated a more extensive awareness of the issues than the Irish cohort and in other instances the Irish cohort scored higher. What is clear, however, is that there are good practice preventative measures (behaviour) that consumers are not following. Further consumer education is needed. Based on these findings, suggestions are made for improving consumer awareness and future research is recommended.

Keywords: cyber crime; privacy; identity theft; internet; fraud; online databases; consumer awareness; Ireland; security; preventative measures; consumer education.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2009.027792

International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2009 Vol.6 No.6, pp.620 - 633

Published online: 11 Aug 2009 *

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