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Online Safety Survey Spots Big Disconnect

Consumers say that they know how to stay safe on the Internet, but they don't practice what they preach, a survey released Wednesday concluded.

Conducted for the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a group that counts AOL, Microsoft, Symantec, and several government agencies as members, the poll showed that while nearly 9 in 10 American consumers were confident they could spot phishing e-mails, more than 6 in 10 couldn't separate legitimate messages from fraudulent, fake mail.

"They think they know what they're doing, and think they can spot online scams," said Ron Teixeira, the NCSA's executive director, "but the reality is that they really don't know.

"There's still a big disconnect between perception and reality."

The survey asked consumers to point out legit and bogus e-mails and Web sites, but in most cases, they failed miserably. When asked to finger fake sites from a line-up, 3 out of 10 rated them as extremely or very safe; likewise, only a third thought a real page was safe.

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