A national study of Internet users found an increase in spoofing and phishing incidents, costing consumers $500 million, and an increase in skepticism about the Web and e-mail as a result.

The study found that 76 percent of consumers are experiencing an increase in spoofing and phishing incidents and that 35 percent receive fake e-mails at least once a week. The report estimates the total monetary loss to U.S. victims of these incidents at approximately $500 million.

The study was conducted by Ponemon Institute, a think tank dedicated to advancing responsible information management practices in business and government; and sponsored by NACHA, the electronic payments association, and TRUSTe, an online privacy nonprofit organization. It was Based on a national sample of 1,335 Internet users across the United States.

Seven out of 10 respondents revealed that they have unintentionally visited a spoofed Web site and more than 15 percent of spoofed respondents admit to being phished, providing sensitive private information including credit card number, checking account information, and Social Security numbers.

In total, a little more than 2 percent of all respondents believe that they experienced a direct monetary loss resulting from the phishing attack. Most people recognized this loss within the first two weeks after being phished.

As a result, the study found online consumers have become more skeptical about e-mail and Web sites as a result of their unpleasant experiences with phishing and want to see action taken to address the problem.

Sixty-four percent of respondents surveyed believe that it is unacceptable for organizations to do nothing about spoofing and phishing, and 96 percent want companies to consider new technologies to help authenticate e-mail and online sites. Internet users are also interested in having organizations work with law enforcement to shut down the spoofers before they strike.

This article was first published on InsideID.com. To read the full article, click here.