Consumers are being urged to protect their digital wallets with new research from and the Centre for Internet Safety (CIS) revealing two thirds (65 per cent) of Australians are more careful with their ATM or credit card PIN than with their online passwords – despite consumers increasingly shopping, storing personal information and transacting online.

PayPal Australia managing director Jeff Clementz said Australians needed to be smart with their money and even smarter with their passwords.

“With new ways to access your money online, offline and on-the-go, Australians need to know how to protect themselves, no matter where they are and what device they are using. While consumers are increasingly taking advantage of the convenience of shopping online, many are leaving themselves vulnerable to online fraud,” he said.

“As we continue to access our money via digital channels, it is critical we be just as vigilant with online and mobile passwords as we are with ATM and credit card PINs.”

According to the research, the majority of consumers (87 per cent) don’t believe anyone could guess their password, despite one in four (22 per cent) admitting they include personal information in their passwords.  Additionally, 47 per cent of Australians have 10 or more online accounts but two thirds (67 per cent) confess to having five or less passwords, clearly demonstrating that consumers are reusing passwords across several different accounts.

Alastair MacGibbon, director at the Centre for Internet Safety at The University of Canberra said: “Consumer protection begins with the password. As technology progresses and consumers increasingly transact online and on mobile devices, password maintenance and security is essential to protecting our identity and our money.”

The research also showed 49 per cent of Australians only change their passwords when prompted by the system and two thirds (62 per cent) never take time out to update their passwords regularly.