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Women 'more likely to fall for internet fraud'

Those aged 25 to 34 are easiest to fool

Women are significantly more likely than men to fall for internet scams, according to UK domain name registry Nominet.

Nominet-backed website Knowthenet claims that in six out of seven tests, women were less likely to detect a scam than men, with females in the supposedly tech-savvy 25 to 34 age group especially easy to fool.

The study group consisted of 2,000 online consumers who were tested on their ability to assess scams across a range of online categories, including bogus goods, spam attachments, and identifying fake social-networking pages.

As eye-catching as its conclusion will sound, this rather thin 'study' should be treated cautiously. The site does not explain how the participants were chosen, which immediately breaches rule one of good survey practice, nor whether the numbers in each category were equivalent.

Taking the organisation's online fraud test confirmed that a negative, sceptical stance would gain a higher score, and that is down to experience of the internet rather than any difference between men and women.

There is also a view that even experienced internet users can be scammed if the scam happens in an unexpected place using a plausible pitch. People have to click 'yes' to some communication at some point.

"Our research shows that even confident web users can be vulnerable. The good news is that there are lots of simple, easy steps you can take to make it harder for the criminals. You just need to stay aware and this site helps you to do that," said Knowthenet's Phil Kingsland.

See also: Nominet rolls out DNS security protocol


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