Fraud fears scare off US Web shoppers

Fraud fears scare off US Web shoppers

Half of US consumers avoid making purchases online because they are afraid their financial information will be stolen, according to a study released by The Cyber Security Industry Alliance.

The US-wide survey of 1150 adults conducted by Pineda Consulting found that only 44% feel their information is safe when engaging in e-commerce and only a third (34%) feel that Internet banking is as safe as banking in the branch.

The research found that fewer than one in five Americans feel that existing laws are enough to protect them on the Internet. Furthermore, 70% want congress to pass a strong data security law, even if it will result in unwanted notices and higher prices.

Paul Kurtz, executive director of CSIA, says the rash of high-profile data breaches over the past 18 months has compromised more than 55 million personal records, but Congress has spent more than a year debating data security legislation without results.

"If we cannot create a trusted digital environment, it won't just impact e-business, it will impact all business because nearly every company's assumptions about growth involve the continued acceptance and usage of our digital networks," says Kurtz. "A loss of consumer confidence is a billion dollar problem and it is time for Congress to move forward with a national data security bill that assures Americans they are being protected online."

Earlier this year a US House committee has approved a new data security law that requires companies that store confidential personal information to notify customers of any security breach.

The Data Accountability and Trust Act was cleared by the Energy and Commerce Committee and may now be considered on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Separate research conducted by Harris Interactive and released by The Wall Street Journal has found that a third of adults third (30%) have cut the number of purchases they make online, and a quarter (24%) have limited their Internet banking transactions due to fraud fears.

The online survey of 2120 US adults also revealed that the majority of adults - 73% - now monitor their accounts for suspicious activity in a bid to protect themselves from identity theft.

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