ID theft fears scare off online consumers

ID theft fears scare off online consumers

Over half of US consumers say they may limit use of online shopping sites during the Christmas period due to fears of identity theft, according to a survey conducted by market researchers TNS and online security firm TRUSTe.

About six in ten respondents said they may reduce their online shopping during the holiday season because of privacy concerns, up from 49% a year ago, while eight per cent of respondents are so concerned that they do not plan to shop online at all, up two percentage points over last year.

Of the respondents that said they would limit or stop online shopping, ID theft concerns were mentioned by 52% in 2004, up from 35% in 2003. Almost half (44%) are afraid of credit card theft, up from 30% in 2003, while 44% are scared of Spyware being downloaded onto their computers. Receiving spam after purchasing from a Web site is cited by 42% in 2004, up from 38% in 2003.

Fran Maier, executive director of TRUSTe, says the results show consumers have been paying attention to the onslaught of spyware, phishing, identity theft and credit card fraud.

David Stark, privacy officer at TNS, adds: "There is no doubt that consumers are far more wary of these online threats as we approach the shopping season this year."

Almost half (46%) of Internet shoppers surveyed said they buy only from online retailers that have a privacy statement or seal.

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