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Fear leaves Jamaicans hesitant to bank online

Published:Wednesday | February 11, 2015 | 2:00 AM

Richard Mitchell, Staff Reporter

AGAINST THE background that research now shows that most persons have never experienced a cybercrime, or even know of someone who has, many Jamaicans are still shying away from banking online, due to the perception that cybercrime is rampant.

Speaking with The Gleaner during the launch of the book, Fear of Cybercrime and its Implications for Electronic Banking: Lessons for the Global e-Banking Sector, Stephen Johnson, research assistant, lecturer and co-author, noted perception leads Jamaicans to fear online banking.

"(For our book), we asked two questions: Were you ever a victim? The majority said no. Then we asked: Do you know someone who has been a victim? The majority also said no."

He continued: "What you find is that just the perception is overwhelming; but where actual victimisation is concerned, it is non-existent. However, we found that fear is high."

Johnson blames the media for heavily contributing to this fear.

Though the book is aimed specifically at the banking industry, lead author, Dr Lloyd Waller, director, Centre for Leadership and Governance, University of the West Indies, Mona, suggested ways in which users can protect themselves when banking online. One such way is taking a picture of your account each time you visit your bank's website and make note of any unusual discrepancy.

Fear of Cybercrime was launched on Monday at the 2015 Research Days activities, hosted by the UWI. It brings together research conducted in Jamaica and Barbados, and seeks to rationalise whether fear prevents persons from banking online.

The book, authored by Waller, Dr Corin Bailey and Stephen Johnson, will be available by March.

Last month, Julian Robinson, minister of state in the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Mining, launched the National Cyber Security Strategy. The strategy aims to, among other things, develop a national culture of cyber security and raise public awareness on the issue.

Research Days is a public UWI initiative, aimed at highlighting and publicising research conducted by the university community. The university also uses the initiative to provide an environment for knowledge sharing.

The 16th staging of Research Days began on Monday, and continues today. Research Days 2015 is being held under the theme, 'Innovating for Development through Science, Creativity, Productivity and Governance.'

richard.mitchell@gleanerjm.com