Identity theft is becoming a popular crime against consumers and phishing (the sending of a fraudulent email appearing to look legitimate in an attempt to convince the recipient to provide personal information) is a popular method to steal a person's identity. Because anyone with an email account is a potential victim, organizations need to provide information to consumers and research needs to be done to track the effectiveness of a consumer training program. To address this problem, this research study sought to determine if consumer education was a solution by exploring if specific characteristics (age, gender, education, knowledge of phishing or online habits) impact a participant's ability to correctly identify email messages. Quantitative data was collected by showing participants ten email messages and quizzing their ability to correctly categorize the messages. The impact age, gender, education, knowledge of phishing and online habits had on their ability to identify the emails was measured. The results were used to determine that these variables did influence the participant's ability to correctly identify email messages. This information may later be used to assist in training on a larger scale and not just be limited to identity theft and phishing.
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