Three in five consumers unaware of the hidden dangers of piracy: fraud, malware and identity theft

62% of people in the UK unwittingly putting themselves and their new gadgets at risk through piracy

New research commissioned by FACT has shown that three out of five people in the UK (62%) are unaware of the hidden dangers of piracy – fraud, identity theft and malware – or its links to criminal gangs.

The research, which focused on consumer behaviour and attitudes to piracy, found that with lockdowns in place across the UK, the nation has turned to home TV and entertainment tech to keep themselves occupied, with a quarter of people in the UK (24%) buying or receiving devices to watch their favourite films, TV shows and sports during the festive period.

Despite awareness of the illegalities surrounding piracy being high (76%), the majority of consumers were unaware of broader risks associated with it. A third (36%) were initially tempted to use new devices purchased during the festive season to access premium content like sports or films for free, unwittingly putting themselves, and their gadgets, at risk of the hidden dangers of piracy.

Once warned of the wider risks of fraud, identity theft and malware, as well as piracy’s links to criminal gangs, consumers admitted it changed their perceptions of piracy and those behind it. In fact, 39% said they would now advise friends and family against it.

CEO of FACT, Kieron Sharp said: “While it’s good to see that so many people are aware of the illegality of piracy, there appears to be a lack of understanding about the very real risks consumers face, with many unwittingly putting themselves in danger as a result. Identity theft, fraud and exposure to malware and viruses as a result of piracy are all too real. I’d ask anyone who is considering turning to illegal content to think twice about whether it’s worth risking giving criminals access to your devices and bank accounts.”

Methodology
Research was conducted by Opinium with 1,003 UK consumers. The research was conducted between 4th January 2021 and 5th January 2021. Opinium abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

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