People fear e-crime more than mugging or car theft, according to a new report from Get Safe Online (GSO). According to the organisation, 24 percent of people are deterred from Internet banking because of e-crime fears, and 18 percent from online shopping.

However people do appear to be doing something about it, with the survey claiming that 72 percent of people need more Internet security information, down from 78 percent last year. The survey was jumped on by one company. Simon Moores, head of research consultancy Zentelligence warned: "GSO is a very small band-aid on a very large gunshot wound. The (e-crime) genii is out of the bottle and out of control." He has previously suggested that e-crime is costing UK business £40 million a year.

GSO's managing director, Tony Neate, is a recently retired officer from the Serious Organised Crime association (SOCA), and has produced the report 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 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 NHTCU website has been shut down and there is now no confidential contact point for business to report e-crime. Sharon Lemon, deputy director of SOCA, said the website had been closed because the branding was wrong, and a confidential e-crime reporting contact point would appear from SOCA soon.