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Security and crimes: Europeans worry about online banking fraud, data misuse and terrorist attacks

adrian_ilie825 ©, 2020
Most Europeans are worried about their data and bank details being misused by criminals and fraudsters. Two in five Europeans have been harassed face-to-face and every fifth is very worried of experiencing a terrorist attack. These findings come from the Fundamental Rights Survey, carried out by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in the European Union, North Macedonia and the United Kingdom in 2019. The results feed into the European Commission’s Security Union Strategy.

The ‘Your rights matter: Security concerns and experiences’ paper looks at people’s security concerns and their worries about experiencing certain crimes. The results show:

  • Data – most people (55%) are worried about their online data being misused by fraudsters or criminals.

    Respondents in Spain (76%), Czechia (69%) and the United Kingdom (67%) worry the most about their data, compared to people in Romania (34%), Croatia, Hungary and Bulgaria (all 37%).

    At the same time, a third of the population (30%) is worried about their data being used by foreign governments.

  • Online banking fraud – a quarter of Europeans (24%) is very worried that their online bank account or payment card details will be misused. This is 57% in Spain.

    Overall, fewer than 1 in 10 (8%) experienced online banking or card fraud in the five years before the survey. However, people in the UK (24%), France (19%) and Denmark (15%) are more likely to have such an experience.

  • Terrorism – a fifth of the population (19%) is very worried about experiencing a terrorist attack. In Spain, over half (52%) fears a terrorist attack compared to 3% in Ireland.
  • Harassment – 2 in 5 people (38%) have experienced in-person harassment in the last 5 years compared to 14% who have experienced it online.

    In France (58%), the Netherlands (55%), Austria (53%), Germany (53%), Finland (52%), the United Kingdom (52%), Belgium (50%), half the population or more has experienced in-person harassment.

    Cyber-harassment is more common among young people and students. It has been the highest in Germany (23%), France (22%) and Finland (19%). 

The survey results also show that people with lower education, who are unemployed or experience difficulties to make ends meet are more worried about experiencing crimes.

Background information:

The paper is one of a series of thematic publications looking at people’s views and experiences of fundamental rights.

In this series, FRA has already published a report on ‘What do fundamental rights mean for people in the EU?’ and a paper on ‘Data protection and privacy’.

The findings draw on responses to FRA’s Fundamental Rights Survey from 35,000 people across all EU Member States, North Macedonia and the United Kingdom.

The survey ran from January to October 2019.

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