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Caught in the NET: A Survey of Los Angeles Area Residents 40+ About Online Use and Safety

With the highest rates of computer ownership and Internet access in the nation, West Coast computer users are potential targets for online criminals to defraud them, damage their computers or invade their privacy. California ranks third among all states for the number of identity theft victims statewide, and the Los Angeles metropolitan area ranks fifth for ID theft-related complaints. This AARP survey of age 40+ computer-using Los Angelenos gauges their concern about providing personal information over the Internet, and what they are doing to protect themselves.

Of those surveyed...

  • 71 percent own a personal computer (PC) or laptop computer
  • 76 percent access the Internet
  • 55 percent access the Internet at least daily and 13 percent at least weekly

Among those accessing the Internet and/or using email...

  • 93 percent are concerned to some extent about providing personal information over the Internet
  • 52 percent have received a phishing email seeking personal information
  • 82 percent avoid giving out their email addresses and 77 percent don’t post them on websites
  • 73 percent of those who also own a computer say they have installed anti-virus protection software while 75 percent have set up filters or firewalls and 88 percent have installed anti-spyware software

This telephone survey of 500 age 40+ metropolitan Los Angeles residents was conducted for AARP by Alan Newman Research, Inc. between October 16th and 25th, 2006. Further information about the survey may be obtained by contacting the report’s author, Jennifer H. Sauer, at 202-434-6207. (22 pages)

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