True crime shows might be the biggest educational tool for cybercrime awareness

Popular cultural depictions of fraud and cybercrime are raising awareness of the dangers posed to personally identifiable information by bad actors, according to a new study.

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A survey of U.S. and UK residents conducted by Censuswide and commissioned by identity verification vendor Onfido released today said that popular culture – specifically, true-crime shows and movies – are having an outsized effect on the public’s understanding of cybercrime.

Two out of three survey respondents said that shows like Inventing Anna and documentaries like The Tinder Swindler have changed the way they view fraud in the modern day. Almost 60% of respondents also said that they’re cautious about trusting other people online due to cultural depictions of fraud.

Onfido CEO Mike Tuchen said in a press release that such programs have had a major impact on the public’s view of fraud and cybercrime. “True crime and fraud-related entertainment stories have become widespread and popular. This is having a very real impact on how society views and perceives the prevalence and severity of fraud as a crime,” he said. “As a result, consumers are growing increasingly wary of online interactions, amid concerns over fraudster tactics and the security of their identities.”

Cybercrime in media lowers public trust in online business

These depictions have caused a general lowering of the public’s trust in online business and more care being taken to keep personal information private. Just under 30% of all respondents said that they were “more skeptical” of doing business online, and 39% said that they preferred to withhold personally identifiable information whenever possible. Almost two-thirds (65%) said that more security measures being taken by online businesses would make them more likely to shop online.

Growing awareness of fraud has also affected the public’s perception of online companies, not just the general practice of doing business. A little less than half – 46% – of respondents said that they believed most businesses didn’t make fraud prevention measures a priority, and 56% said that they simply don’t trust online service providers and brands to fully protect their identities. Unsurprisingly, 68% said that becoming a victim of fraud would negatively impact their trust in a business.

Yet attitudes toward fraud prevention and privacy are becoming more sophisticated, according to the study. Over half of respondents said that adults needed more and better education about online fraud, while 48% said the elderly, in particular, needed assistance in that sphere.

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