Is Net fraud coverage a fraud?

An exaggerated fear of credit-card information theft among consumers is the major barrier to widespread acceptance of e-commerce, according to a new study released by Jupiter Media Metrix Inc.

The report, which cites Visa USA Inc. as a source, said the rate of credit card fraud resulting from on-line transactions is three to four times that of all credit card fraud. Consumers, on the other hand, believe that credit card fraud is 12 times more likely to occur on-line. Jupiter attributes the gap to media hype and overuse of the word fraud. Security breaches where numbers are not stolen or are stolen but never used are often considered fraud even though no liability is incurred, the research firm said. Nevertheless, fear of all types of on-line fraud is the leading roadblock to e-commerce, according to Jupiter’s survey of consumers. Eighty-one per cent of respondents cited fraud as a deterrent. More than half of the respondents have at one time decided not to go ahead with an on-line purchase because of security concerns.

ISP aims to beat on-line shopping fears

Internet service provider OzEmail Pty. Ltd. has launched OzEpay, an e-commerce payment service, aimed at overcoming users’ credit card security fears by circumventing the need to disclose personal information during on-line purchasing.

By using OzEpay, OzEmail customers can make purchases on-line without the need to transmit their personal details. When an existing OzEmail subscriber makes a purchase from an OzEpay-enabled site, the ISP receives a request for that purchase and, as the user’s credit card details are already securely stored, the purchase is automatically charged to the credit card, ensuring the process does not expose credit card details on the Internet.

Government, industry call for new cybercrime law

Stopping cybercrime is going to require new laws, more money and legal protections for companies that share security data with the government, lawmakers have been told.

During three hearings held recently, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Crime heard several ideas for cybercrime legislation including tougher penalties and more funding from government officials, trade groups and private companies. Among those calling for action at last week’s final hearing was Robert Chesnut, a vice-president at eBay Inc. in San Jose. The on-line auctioneer wants it to be illegal for spammers to “harvest” e-mail addresses a “parasitic process” that undermines public confidence in e-commerce, he said. “[Individuals constantly] come to our site, steal our addresses and then use those e-mail addresses to send illegal spam,” said Chesnut. eBay has more than 29 million registered users. Those representing business interests emphasized that law enforcers have to move aggressively, particularly in intellectual property protection.