Surveys find consumers easily duped by online prize offers

90 percent of companies have been hacked survey shows computer hacking

In an effort to measure the online scam susceptibility, a new survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by PC Tools finds Americans consumers are astonishingly willing to give up their personal information when lured with free offers, with some 55 percent of American respondents indicating they would likely provide personal information online to redeem a prize after completing a survey. Response rates for other test scenarios weren’t much better: 53 percent said they’d likely hand over personal details for free antivirus software or a get-rich-quick opportunity, while just under half said they would turn over info for a free movie or online shopping registration.

Ponemon PC Tools U.S. Scam Suceptibility Dec 2011

The survey also highlighted some disparity between what respondents said they would do, versus what they actually did. Fully 47 percent of respondents indicated they understood an online survey with a prize could be a scam or an attempt to market something to them later, but in test scenarios 55 percent of respondents said they’d likely turn over personal information to redeem a prize after a survey anyway.

The U.S. survey covered 1,858 American consumers, but similar surveys of UK and Australian also revealed high levels of susceptibility to online scams—although not as high as Americans. Some 46 percent of respondents in the UK said they would be likely to disclose personal details to redeem a prize after a survey, while Australians did even better, with only 37 percent indicating they would reveal personal information after a survey. In Australia, the survey found respondents aged 16 to 5—the so-called “Generation Net”—were the most susceptible. In the UK, the most susceptible were 16 to 18 years old, with 61 percent indicating they were likely to click on an alert to download free antivirus software.

Respondents in the U.S. also said they thought they themselves (first person) were as likely as their friends (third person) to reveal personal information, where UK and Australian respondents each felt they were less likely to disclose information than their friends. Behavioral researchers often ask the same sorts of questions in first- and third-person terms to try to evaluate the positive “halo effect” many respondents have about their own behaviors when asked to rate themselves.

“We generally find that when people are answering for others they are more inclined to reveal their true behavior, or in this case their susceptibility,” said PC Tools online security expert Richard Clooke, in a statement. “Interestingly, the survey results from all three regions demonstrate that U.S. respondents are more susceptible than either UK or Australian respondents for both the first and third person constructs.”

The survey also found Americans’ susceptibility to online scams varied with area, sex, income, education, and region. Like Australians, Americans aged 18 to 25 were generally more susceptible, as were female respondents. Similarly, respondents with less than a high school diploma, with household incomes between $25,000 and $50,000 a year, and who lived in the southwestern United States were also found to be more susceptible.

Gaming

Cops called to handle ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ noise end up playing the game

A group of friends were playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch when cops arrived to respond to noise complaints from neighbors. In an unexpected twist, the officers ended up playing the game, too.
Outdoors

Drink what nature provides with the best water purifiers

Looking for reliable water purification? Staying hydrated is important, especially when you are hiking or camping far from civilization. Check out our picks of the best water purifiers for your camp, backpack, or pocket.
Mobile

Android 9.0 updates to stretch into 2019 — will your phone get a slice of Pie?

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Outdoors

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Black Diamond and Petzl to Coast here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Gaming

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.
Mobile

Google makes it easy to donate to charity straight through the Play Store

As we head into the holiday season, Google announced a new feature on Google Play that makes it a little easier to donate to charity. Through the new page, you'll be able to choose from a range of charities to donate to.
Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.
Deals

REI clearance sale extends discounts on Garmin, Fitbit, and GoPro devices

Beyond the things you typically expect to find at REI — like tents, skis, and jackets — there are tons of great deals on quality tech foryour outdoor adventures. From smartwatches to action cameras, here are the best tech deals.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Mobile

Sprint’s 5G rollout: Everything you need to know

Sprint is building its next-gen 5G network in preparation for a 2019 rollout, but it's taking a decidedly different approach than some of its competitors, including Verizon and AT&T. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Deals

Amazon slashes price of 2018 iPad to under $250 in time for Christmas

Whether you love Apple or prefer Android, this 2018 iPad 32GB tablet deal is rather tempting. If you're still on the hunt for gifts, then this deep discount from Amazon makes now an excellent time to pick one up.
Wearables

How to use the ECG app, set up irregular rhythm notifications on the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch Series 4 is the best smartwatch iPhone owners can own, and it just got even better with the addition of the ECG app and ability to identify irregular heart rhythms. Here's how to set it all up.
Home Theater

Common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.