People fear e-crime more than mugging or car theft, according to a new report from the UK government’s consumer e-crime awareness campaign, Get Safe Online (GSO). It’s survey found 24% of people are deterred from internet banking because of e-crime fears, and 18% from online shopping.

However people do appear to be doing something about it, with the survey claiming that 72% of people need more Internet security information, down from 78% last year.

However, Simon Moores head of research consultancy Zentelligence warned: "GSO is a very small band-aid on a very large gunshot wound. The [e-crime] genie is out of the bottle and out of control." He has previously suggested that e-crime is costing UK business £40 million (US$74 million) a year.

The survey comes at a time when business fears the government isn't taking high-tech crime seriously enough. GSO depends upon sponsors to spread its e-crime awareness message. And the government, via Serious Organised Crime Association (SOCA), puts in £150,000 a year. Other sponsors such as Microsoft, eBay and HSBC have put in £155,000 each.

Since SOCA absorbed the National High-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU), the latter’s website has been shut down and there is now no confidential contact point for business to report e-crime. Sharon Lemon, SOCA deputy director said the website had been closed because the branding was wrong, and a confidential e-crime reporting contact point would appear from SOCA soon.