According to a new research report conducted by VeriSign, Australian internet users are at risk of online fraud with 86 per cent of respondents failing to spot the difference between real and fake websites.

According to research, Australia is one of the most vulnerable nations, as well as the United Kingdom and the United States, whilst Germany and Sweden are the best at protecting themselves online.

The report outlined that despite education efforts by banks and online retailers, Australian consumers are still falling for scammer’s traps, with 23 per cent falling victim.

“Our research tested the applicability and understanding of a variety of phishing methods Australian consumers need to be aware of,” said Armando Dacal, director, authentication services, VeriSign Asia Pacific. “Sneaky strategies such as imitation web sites that try and phish your personal details have been shown to work across all demographics, particularly on the age group 45- 54 years.”

The consumers who are the most risk are in the age group 45 to 54, who are 25 per cent less likely to spot a scam than others. As well as this over 65 year olds are more than twice as likely to fail to check a websites details and 43 per cent failed to pick up inaccurate URL addresses.

But the report outlined that younger users are still at risk and are more prone to respond to scare tactics, with 26 per cent failing to identify a fake site.

In addition to this the report found that 86 per cent of respondents failed to pick up obvious errors that would never be found on a valid company website.

“Almost nine out of 10 people in Australia are vulnerable to phishing scams, a method to easily identify a genuine site from a phishing site is a must for all businesses online,” said Dacal.