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British Columbians are worried about cybersecurity but they're also more likely than other Canadians to share their debit card personal identification numbers with others and take other risks that could leave them open to identity theft and other fraud.
These are among the findings of a survey released today by TD Canada Trustin conjunction with Fraud Prevention Month in Canada.
Visa Canada released its own survey, this one conducted by Ipsos Reid that found young Canadians, those aged 18 to 30 are the most likely to share too much personal information on social networking sites - information such as birthdates, home addresses and phone numbers that provide lucrative pickings for identity thieves, phishing expeditions and other online fraud.
Today's releases come the week after Norton, the security company, released its top riskiest Canadian cities for cybercrime risk rankings. The polls and rankings all add up to a lot of scary headlines and ones Simon Fraser University communication professor Peter Chow-White suggest may be designed more for advertising and brand awareness than for research.
"I think it is to put a discourse of anxiety and fear into the public sphere," he said. "They are all framed around risk, not safety."
Chow-White suggests the practice of companies commissioning surveys and circulating them amongst the media creates a sense of insecurity and anxiety about online security.
"That's what advertising does," he said. "It's trying to create a sense of anxiety amongst people for needing to do something, whether it's white teeth, new tires or anything.
"This is just another episode in the long history of advertisers and companies creating market share, creating a market for their products."
Chow-White points out that in all the survey press releases, the tips or suggestions for cyber security mostly lead back to the company that commissioned the survey.