Security concerns dog online shoppers, says survey

Despite the increasing size of the online shopping market, one in four U.S. consumers won’t shop online during the upcoming holiday season because of concerns over buying goods online, according to the results of a survey published on Tuesday.

A separate survey revealed, however, that while Canadian consumers are concerned about the privacy of their personal information, they hold companies responsible for ensuring the security and integrity of their online information.

A major concern of consumers when shopping online is a fear that their personal information will be sold to a third party, according to the survey, which was commissioned by the Business Software Alliance and conducted by Forrester Custom Consumer Research. It surveyed 1,099 U.S. consumers. The survey found 79 percent of people worried about such a sale of their information.

Another big concern was identity theft (74 percent) and consumers were also worried about spam, credit card fraud and computer viruses, the survey found.

Users are turning to technology to fight against some potential online annoyances like spyware and spam. Just over four out of five reported they are running anti-virus software (81 percent) while levels were lower for anti-spyware software (67 percent), e-mail filtering/spam blocker software (65 percent), and firewalls (63 percent).

Almost three quarters of users are concerned about buying and selling goods through online auction services, the BSA reported.

More details of the survey and tips on how users can protect themselves online can be found at the BSA’s Web site at .

A survey conducted by Leger Marketing, for Toronto-based Fusepoint Managed Services and Sun Microsystems of Canada, based in Markham, Ont., showed that 58 per cent of consumers would immediately terminate relationship with a company that compromised their personal information. In addition, 37 per cent of Canadian consumers said they would seek legal action against these companies.

“This is not a simple business issue. It’s a fundamental matter of trust,” said George Kerns, Fusepoint president and CEO.

With increasing volume and sophistication of online threats, business should heed customers’ call for better data protection, said Kerns

Leger Marketing surveyed 565 Canadian residents to measure the importance of data security and identity theft for both businesses and consumers.

More than one in 10 Canadian consumers believe they have already been a victim of identity theft, and 38 per cent say they know someone who was victimized by it.

– With files from Mari-Len De Guzman

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