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English-speakers more at risk of identity fraud

PayPal commissioned study finds differences in identity fraud rates and password practices between English-speaking countries, France, Spain and Germany.

People in English-speaking countries are targeted for identity fraud at twice the rate of many Europeans, according to a new study released by PayPal on Wednesday.

Ten percent of online shoppers in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada--not-surprisingly, places with high percentages of e-commerce transactions--reported being victims of identity fraud, compared with only 5 percent in France, Germany and Spain, the study conducted by Ipsos found.

The Germans had the lowest rate of identity fraud of the countries, with 3 percent reporting problems.

Meanwhile, the Germans were also found to be more cautious with their passwords. Only about one in four Germans reported ever sharing a password with anyone, compared with 60 percent of Americans and 56 percent of the French.

One in three Americans said they write down their passwords to remember them, while fewer than one in five in all the other countries does so.

As far as changing passwords, the French and Spanish are the most lax. And the French tend to display birth dates on social networking sites and to use birth dates as passwords, the study found.

In Canada, more than half of the respondents said privacy is their number one online concern.

Finally, more than half of all consumers surveyed still receive financial statements in the mail. Only 17 percent of French consumers and 23 percent in Spain own shredders.