Fake security software is risk to credit card users

Fake security software scams are encouraging internet users to hand over their credit card details to criminals.

A report released this week by Symantec revealed that such scams were the biggest cybersecurity problem affecting computer users in 2009.

Vincent Weafer, a vice-president at Symantec, told Reuters: "Virtually everything we see today is fake AV (anti-virus). It’s such a money-making racket."

The scam involves a notice that flashes up to warn people of a virus and offers a link for purchasing protection software. However, the user does not buy security software but rather a virus or worse, while also handing over their credit card details to the scammer.

Meanwhile, Elise Davidson, spokeswoman for the consumer advocate group Choice, told News Limited this week that Australians can protect themselves from fraud committed by fake retailers by using separate credit cards with lower balances when shopping online.

She said this measure serves to enforce a limit on any unauthorised spending that could take place.

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