Almost one fifth (17%) of Aussies surveyed were the victim of fraud in the past 12 months according to new research from biometric security and fraud detection company Nuance Communications.

From the 1,000 Australian adults surveyed, fraud victims were found to be out by nearly $2,431 on average.

In the 'majority' of cases, it was poor password hygiene that allowed victims to be scammed.

When selecting their passwords, 19% of respondents try to use different passwords for different websites, and only 20% follow 'password strength' indicators.

But more than a quarter (28%) of respondents alternate between two to three different passwords, and 11% only use one password for everything.

Aussies don't trust 'archaic' PINs and passwords

The research revealed that traditional authentication methods are frustrating Aussie consumers.

A fifth (18%) will forget their passwords and have to request to reset them, and more than a quarter (26%) are told their passwords are 'compromised' every two to three months. 

Simon Marchand, Chief Fraud Prevention Officer for Security and Biometrics at Nuance, said PINs and passwords are no longer fit their original purposes.

"Every day, passwords are being sold on the dark web and exploited for fraudulent activity," Mr Marchand said.

"The fraud committed with them - not to mention the challenge and frustrations associated with simply remembering them - is costing unfortunate businesses and individuals vast sums of money, especially in the wake of the pandemic."

This makes it 'unsurprising' that 40% of respondents reported that their trust in traditional PINs and passwords decreased over the past 12 months.

Last month alone, Aussies lost over $30 million to scams according to the ACCC's 'Scamwatch' - from investment scams to employment scams - particularly those that were still in lockdown at the time.

'More comfortable' with biometric security

The idea of using biometrics is becoming more 'comfortable' according to the research, with almost half (47%) of respondents saying they feel more comfortable using the technology than before the pandemic.

Additionally, almost a third (32%) now trust a form of biometrics (voice, facial, fingerprint, behavioural, or a combination of these) most as a means of authentication.

"While Australians are once again transitioning into a post-pandemic world, remote working, shopping and socializing are here to stay, Mr Marchand said

"It has therefore never been more important for businesses to ensure that consumers are provided with a more sophisticated and secure experience.

"Stronger approaches to authentication, such as biometrics, have not only been proven to help reduce the cost of fraud, but will also introduce a more streamlined, seamless customer experience to deliver faster and more efficient services."

Image by Mohammad Hassan on Pixabay