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Online fraud is all YOUR fault

Or at least, that's what a UK government campaign supported by eBay, BT and Microsoft is suggesting.

The Get Safe Online campaign's Internet Safety: The State of the Nation survey makes for pretty disturbing reading. Online fraudsters nick an average of £875 each from 3.6 million people each year.

But Get Safe Online would have us believe that it is the victims' fault - at least partially.

The government site suggests that if internet users took the same precautions online that they do on the high street, a substantial proportion of online fraud losses could be prevented. According to the survey, fewer than half of UK internet users feel they're responsible for their own online safety. One-in-six believe their bank is wholly responsible for their online protection, while an unlucky 13 percent feel that it's up to their internet service provider.

According to the site, most people look after their credit cards and their wallets first (56 percent and 42 percent respectively). Only 9 percent take most care to protect their online passwords. As a revelation this is up their with 'Pope Catholic shocker!', but it is a ropey set of statistics.

(Apparently 1 percent of internet users take the most care to keep their email address hidden, which seems a bit strange. If you don't want people to know your email address, don't have one. But what do I know? Mine's published in a magazine each month.)

All this blame-shifting is clearly idiocy - we're responsible for our own safety, online and off. If I walked around my, er, 'up-and-coming' neighbourhood with a glow-in-the-dark wallet balancing on the end of a stick, I'd get mugged. It wouldn't be my fault, exactly, but I certainly wouldn't blame the wallet manufacturer, the police or the local authority.

But it does concern me that financial institutions and web vendors seem to be shifting increasing amounts of responsibility our way. Yes, we should all protect ourselves online, but banks have to retain some of the burden of our security, or we might as well keep our cash stuffed under the mattress.

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