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Caught in the Net: A Survey of Chicago Area Residents 40+ about Online Use and Safety

As Chicago metropolitan area residents increasingly become computer owners, accessing the Internet and using email to communicate with others, the opportunities for fraud and technical damage to their computers and personal files can also increase.

This telephone survey of 500 age 40+ Chicago metro area residents explores their experiences with spam, phishing, worms, viruses, spyware and other nefarious Internet hazards, and examines the preventative measures they take to avoid these problems and where they go when help is needed.

Of those surveyed...

  • 72 percent own a personal computer (PC) or laptop computer
  • 73 percent access the Internet
  • 53 percent access the Internet at least daily and 13 percent at least weekly

Among those who access the Internet and/or use email...

  • 98 percent are concerned to some extent about providing personal information over the Internet
  • 48 percent have received a phishing email seeking personal information
  • 49 percent are uncertain whether banks send their customers emails asking them to click a link and verify their accounts
  • 80 percent avoid giving out their email addresses and 77 percent don’t post them on websites
  • 92 percent of those who also own a computer say they have installed anti-virus protection software while 78 percent have set up filters or firewalls and 80 percent have installed anti-spyware software

Surveying was conducted for AARP by Alan Newman Research, Inc. between August 24th and 30th, 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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