June 15, 2005, 12:00 AM

48% of consumers avoid online shopping due to fears of fraud, study says

48% of consumers avoid shopping on the Internet because of fears their personal financial information could get stolen, the Cyber Security Industry Alliance reports in a study released today.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

48% of consumers avoid shopping on the Internet because of fears their personal financial information could get stolen, the Cyber Security Industry Alliance reports in a study released today.

“Clearly voters are concerned about the security of their personal information on the Internet, and that fear is inhibiting the full potential of e-commerce,” says Paul Kurtz, executive director of the CSIA.

48% of respondents said they agreed with the statement, “I avoid making purchases on the Internet because my financial information may get stolen.”

47% of respondents took the opposite view, agreeing with the statement, “I am confident that my financial information is safe on the Internet.”

The study, which also sought to gauge public interest in tighter Internet security laws, was based on a survey conducted by Pineda Consulting of 1,003 consumers. 97% of respondents cited identify theft on the Internet as a serious problem, and 93% said spyware was a serious problem. 28% said they think the federal government is placing the right emphasis on protecting information systems and networks, but 64% said they think the government needs to place a higher priority on protecting information systems.

Kurtz says he hopes Congress will act on consumers’ concerns and address gaps in existing laws pertaining to Internet security and encourage industry adoption of cyber security standards.

“Keeping the Internet a place where consumers feel confident doing business can only be achieved through a coordinated, comprehensive approach that includes tough punishment through better laws, high security standards from companies, partnerships with consumer groups, and protection for consumers nationwide,” Kurtz says. “We must be careful about the public policy course we chart in the next few years, as it will have long-term consequences for innovation and economic growth.”

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