Ipos-Reid survey: ID theft fears hurts e-commerce

More than half of Canadians surveyed by Ipsos-Reid said they have backed out of an online purchase over fears of identity theft.

According to the survey of 1,000 adults that was conducted by phone earlier this week, 36 per cent said they are well-informed about how to prevent identity theft and 33 per cent said they know at least one person who has been a victim of it. Identity theft in this case usually refers to a scheme whereby cyber-criminals use e-mail messages or Web sites that look like they come from legitimate businesses to capture personal information such as credit card numbers.

The survey, which was conducted on behalf of Toronto-based credit card issuer Captial One, is considered accurate plus or minus 3.02 per cent 19 times out of 20. Capital One released the results with a backgrounder on how to watch for signs of identity theft and what steps to take if information has been lost or stolen.

Identity theft has been getting more attention from the Canadian government, which recently proposed an amendment to the Criminal Code. If Bill C-27 is passed, it will be an offence to make available or sell personal information (such as names, addresses bank account information and social insurance numbers) knowing it will be used to commit fraud – or if the person or company selling the information is reckless as to whether the data will be used for fraud by a third party.

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