Identity Theft Twice as Likely in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. than in Other European Countries

    Within Canada, Ontarians Twice as likely to fall victim as Atlantic

    TORONTO, Oct. 21 /CNW/ - Online consumers in Canada, the U.K., and the
U.S. are the most frequent victims of identity theft, twice the rate of
France, Germany and Spain, according to a new study released by PayPal.
However, with the holiday season fast approaching, three quarters of online
shoppers worldwide are concerned about online scams or identity theft. The
research, conducted by Ipsos, examined online security fears and habits in the
United States, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
    The survey found that 10 per cent of online shoppers in Canada, the U.S.,
and the U.K. had experienced identity theft. This compares with about five
percent in France, Germany and Spain. Approximately 25 per cent of online
shoppers in the three English-speaking countries knew friends or family who
had their identities stolen. In Canada, Ontario was hardest hit with 12 per
cent saying they have been victims of identity theft, followed by Alberta (9
per cent), and Quebec and BC (8 per cent). Less than six per cent of Atlantic
Canadians said they have been victims of identity theft.
    "Concerns about identity theft form a universal language," said 
Michael Barrett, chief information security officer at PayPal. "The PayPal
study sheds light on a few simple things that consumers can do to feel more
confident in shopping online."
    While there is a national discrepancy between those who have been victims
of identity theft, or know someone who has, (49 per cent of Americans have
been victim or know someone who has, versus 13 per cent of Germans), the level
of concern for identify theft is high everywhere. Over 85 per cent of
Canadians, American and British consumers are either slightly or very
concerned. Even in Germany, where the percentage of victims is relatively
small, 72 per cent are slightly or very concerned.
    "Canadians are aware of the issue of identity theft and are proactively
doing things to reduce the odds of falling victim to it," said 
Darrell MacMullin, country manager, PayPal Canada. "One interesting bit of
information that came out of this survey is that we are a nation of shredders!
67 per cent of us shred all financial statements, which is a simple, yet
effective, way to help protect yourself."
    Though choosing and safeguarding passwords is one of the most important
factors to online security, attitudes and behaviors vary greatly between
cultures. German online consumers keep their passwords to themselves. Only
about one in four (28 per cent) has ever shared an account password with a
family member or significant others. This compares with 60 per cent of
Americans, 56 per cent of French, and 48 per cent of Canadian consumers who
shared passwords. Germans also experienced the fewest problems with identity
theft - only three per cent of German consumers have experienced identity
theft, and fewer than one in 10 knows someone who has. Ten per cent of
Canadians have been victim of identity theft, and 26 per cent know someone who
has been a victim.
    Almost half of online consumers in all countries surveyed use important
dates, family member names, nicknames or pets' names as their online
passwords. Nick name (22 per cent), pet's name (21 per cent), and birth or
anniversary date (15 per cent) are the top password choices in Canada.
Canadian, French, and Spanish consumers are most lax when it comes to updating
their passwords. Fifty-seven per cent of Canadian consumers, 61 per cent of
French consumers and 63 per cent of Spanish consumers change their passwords
less than once per year or only when required to do so.
    "Consumers should use different passwords for each site and be sure to
include a combination of letters, numbers and symbols," said Barrett. "And
remember, using the same password at multiple sites is like using the same key
for your house, car and office. If that key is stolen, then you're more
    The survey found that about 40 per cent of online consumers in all six
countries use social networking sites, and some of these consumers display
personal information that they also use for passwords. More than one in four
French consumers display their birth dates on social networking sites and also
use birth dates as online passwords. Less than 10 per cent of consumers in
Canada and the U.K. do the same.

    Other Canada Findings.

    -   Atlantic Canadians are the least likely to fall victim to identity
        theft (6 per cent) yet they are just as likely to shop online at
        least once a month as Ontarians (79 per cent, and 80 per cent), and
        almost twice as likely to store credit card information on all the
        sites where they shop (28 per cent to 15 per cent).
    -   Quebecers are the least likely to share passwords with significant
        others/family members (32 per cent) while Atlantic Canadians the most
        likely (57 per cent).
    -   We are a nation of shredders. Sixty-seven per cent of Canadians shred
        all financial statements, with Atlantic Canada at one end (53 per
        cent) and Ontario at the other (71 per cent). Saskatchewan and
        Manitoba are close behind at 70 per cent.
    -   When it comes to social networking, the two coasts reign supreme with
        more than half of Albertans, British Columbians, and Atlantics
        Canadians using sites like Facebook and MySpace. In Ontario, Quebec,
        Saskatchewan, and Manitoba less than half do so.
    -   We've got pretty good memories: 74 per cent of Canadians memorize
        each online password. While only three per cent opt for the dreaded
        post-it note on the computer, 18 per cent of us do write passwords
        down somewhere.
    -   Canadians feel safer walking around with $1,000 in our wallets (35
        per cent) than buying something in response to an unsolicited email
        (three per cent).

    Other Global Findings

    -   The majority of French consumers surveyed never change their
        passwords or do so only when required.
    -   Spanish consumers are relatively new to e-commerce, and more than 80
        per cent of Spanish respondents said they are concerned that the
        purchased product will not be as pictured or expected, will be of
        poor quality, or will not arrive at all.
    -   Privacy is the number one concern among Canadians, with more than
        half (53 per cent) indicating that they are "very concerned" about
        protecting their privacy.
    -   Consumers in Germany, the UK and Canada are least likely to store
        their passwords on their browsers (70 per cent, 61 per cent and 58
        per cent, respectively, never do so). About half of the consumers in
        the U.S., France and Spain store passwords on their browsers.
    -   More than half of all consumers receive financial statements in the
        mail. Only 17 per cent of consumers in France and 23 per cent of
        consumers in Spain own shredders, compared to a large majority in all
        other countries.

    Survey Methodology

    The 2008 PayPal Trust and Safety Study was conducted by Ipsos Research
from May 28 - June 3 in the United States, August 19 - 26, in Canada, and
August 15 - 25 in Europe. The e-mail survey reached 1,000 panelists in each of
the six countries: the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the
United Kingdom. All respondents had shopped online in the past 90 days. Quotas
for age, gender and PayPal usage were set during the survey to ensure
representative populations in each of the six countries.

    PayPal Online Safety Tips

    1.  Use safer passwords: Use a combination of upper and lowercase letters
        and numbers, and change passwords every 30 days.
    2.  Protect your computer: Use anti-virus software as well as an updated
        Internet browser that blocks fraudulent Web sites.
    3.  Never click on links in emails: Even if the email appears to be from
        your bank, the IRS, or popular sites like PayPal, do not click on
        links to pages that ask you to share sensitive personal or financial
    4.  Use safer payment methods: Systems such as PayPal or a credit card
        have policies that provide recourse if something goes wrong.
    5.  Use common sense: If something seems too good to be true, it probably

    About PayPal

    PayPal is the safer, easier way to pay and get paid online. The service
allows users to pay without sharing financial information and gives consumers
the flexibility to pay, using account balances, bank accounts or credit cards.
With more than 65 million active accounts in 190 markets and 19 currencies
around the world, PayPal enables global ecommerce. PayPal is an eBay company.
More information about the company can be found at

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Amy Clark, Nazia Khan,
Environics for PayPal Canada,,,
(416) 969-2758, (416) 969-2781

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