UK internet users are willing to take risks online as long as they feel informed about the consequences, according to a new report.

The Trustguide report, a collaborative research project by BT, the DTI and the University of Plymouth, found that surfers use specific online services not because they trust them, but because they think the benefits outweigh the risks.

The report recommends that Government and private industry take responsibility for educating and reassuring the public that safeguards against online crime are in place.

The report praises the banking industry for effectively communicating security measures to customers that are using internet banking services and, in many cases, guaranteeing to refund victims.

Barclays, with its introduction this week of a chip and PIN reader for online banking, is a good example of this.

This has helped banks to attract online customers – the report quotes figures from Apacs which show that the number of UK customers using online banking has outstripped those using telephone banking.

The report highlighted a need for greater honesty and transparency concerning data usage by service providers.

It said unsubstantiated claims of security and protection do not help instill trust in the public, and providers need to be open about the benefits and issues related to a service.