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One in Eight Brits Fall Victim to Online ID Fraud

VeriSign Fraud Barometer Reveals Online Criminals in the UK Stole £2.65 Billion in the Last Year

LONDON – September 16, 2009 – A YouGov survey commissioned by VeriSign Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN), the trusted provider of Internet infrastructure services for the networked world, has revealed that 12 percent of the UK population has been a victim of online ID fraud within the last 12 months. The research found that these fraud victims have had on average £463 stolen, with a quarter claiming to still be in dispute over compensation for the money that was stolen from them.

The survey found that in general British Web users are conscientious when it comes to online shopping. Eighty two percent of respondents claimed to buy only from sites with enhanced security settings, with eight percent more women claiming to check security before they buy online. However, the research shows that in the last 12 months, £2.65 billion was stolen online from UK consumers. Many victims claimed to have been extra careful when buying online, but the UK population is still experiencing fraud. This highlights the need for more education on how to protect yourself when shopping on the Internet.

Richard Hurley, communications manager at CIFAS - the UK's Fraud Prevention Service, commented, “Increasing numbers of cost-conscious consumers are now shopping online, and whilst the rise in online spending is great for online retailers, it opens up a Pandora’s Box of security threats. Cyber criminals are undoubtedly getting more devious, but consumers can easily lessen the likelihood of online fraud by stepping up their own awareness of how they can protect themselves online. The launch of the VeriSign Fraud Barometer will allow us to track the current threat landscape further, with specific focus on online threats, and it is important that companies like CIFAS and VeriSign work to combat fraud and offer sound advice to consumers.”

The survey was commissioned to launch the VeriSign UK Fraud Barometer®, a bi-annual barometer of online fraud in the UK, and is supported by an ongoing campaign to educate the public on how to protect yourself online – more details can be found at www.trustthetick.co.uk.

“Research reveals that there isn’t a relationship between the number of people who check a Web site’s security and those who have been scammed,” said Martin Mackay, VeriSign’s vice president of EMEA. “There are still too many people out there who simply don’t know the danger signs to look for when buying online. We’re committed to measuring fraud in the UK to raise awareness of this issue, and promise to educate the public with regular campaigns on what they should be looking for before buying online.”

The survey also uncovers trends and habits in online shopping, including:

  • Fewer 18-24 year olds have been de-frauded, with only five percent stating that they had been online ID fraud victims
  • People aged 45-54 are defrauded most often, with 14 percent claiming to have been victims of online ID fraud
  • Londoners are the most careless about buying online, with 25 percent stating that they don’t bother checking whether a Web site has enhanced security settings before buying from it, as opposed to only 10 percent of respondents from Northern Ireland
  • The Welsh are the biggest victims of online fraud, with 20 percent stating that they had experienced ID fraud in the last year
  • Scots are least likely to fall victim to ID fraud, with only eight percent stating that they had been defrauded in the last twelve months

The following tips, which can be found in detail on the Trust the Tick Web site, www.trustthetick.co.uk, are crucial to being safe when shopping online.

  1. Protect your computer by adding a personal firewall and anti-virus software. Disconnect from the Internet when you’re not online, and if you’re using a laptop create a password that’s required to access any information.
  2. Keep your passwords safe - don't share passwords, change them often and don't choose one that can be easily guessed. Where possible use two-factor authentication - where the second password is generated from a device and is a number that changes every time you log-in.
  3. Verify the Web site you are on is safe. Before entering your payment details into any website, check that the URL begins with https – the “s” stands for “secure.” If a site has obvious typographical errors, or no evidence of security information, avoid it. If in doubt, click on the VeriSign tick to verify a site’s identity, and if possible use a high security web browser that displays the green EV SSL address bar.
  4. Don’t download email attachments or click on a link in an email unless it's from someone you trust and never provide sensitive information in an email. Remember that financial websites will never tell you that you must provide your username, password, PIN or other sensitive information in an email; fraudsters will.
  5. Ensure you are using a secure Wi-Fi network. Set up a password to secure your home wireless network and avoid buying online or checking bank and investment websites on a public Wi-Fi network.

VeriSign is working towards a safer experience online. The company is urging consumers concerned about their security to visit www.trustthetick.co.uk to find out more about how they can protect themselves online and identify the Web sites that are safe for sharing personal details and completing financial transactions.

About VeriSign

VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN) is the trusted provider of Internet infrastructure services for the networked world. Billions of times each day, VeriSign helps companies and consumers all over the world engage in communications and commerce with confidence. Additional news and information about the company is available at www.verisign.com.

VRSNF Statements in this announcement other than historical data and information constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 as amended and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as amended. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause VeriSign's actual results to differ materially from those stated or implied by such forward-looking statements. The potential risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainty of future revenue and profitability and potential fluctuations in quarterly operating results due to such factors as increasing competition and pricing pressure from competing services offered at prices below our prices, market acceptance of our existing services and the current global economic downturn, the inability of VeriSign to successfully develop and market new services, the uncertainty of whether new services as provided by VeriSign will achieve market acceptance or result in any revenues, the risk that planned divestitures of certain businesses may be delayed or pending dispositions may not be completed, may generate less proceeds than expected or may incur unanticipated costs or otherwise negatively affect VeriSign's financial condition, results of operations or cash flows, and the uncertainty of whether Project Titan will achieve its stated objectives. More information about potential factors that could affect the company's business and financial results is included in VeriSign's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. VeriSign undertakes no obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this press release.

Contacts

Media Relations:
Victoria Henry, vhenry@verisign.com, + 44 (0) 7920 598 016

Weber Shandwick for VeriSign:
Lydia Curtis, Lcurtis@webershandwick.com, +44 (0)207 067 0513

Investor Relations:
Nancy Fazioli, nfazioli@verisign.com, +1 650-426-5146