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Conference Board: Data Debacles Hurting E-Commerce

A rash of recent consumer data thefts and disclosures at Fortune 500 companies may be starting to spook Web users away from shopping online, according to data released today by the Conference Board.

The study, conducted with the help of market research group TNS, relied on responses from roughly 7,000 U.S. households, nearly half of whom said their level of concern over the security and privacy of their personal and financial data has grown over the past year, while 41 percent said they were purchasing less online as a result. Thirteen percent of those surveyed said they or a member of their household had fallen victim to identity fraud.

A similar survey released today by online research group Gartner Inc. found that concerns about online attacks have soured more than 80 percent of consumers on e-mail they receive from companies or individuals they don't know personally. I'm not sure that's a bad thing, actually, since so many viruses and worms are spread this way through e-mail. Gartner estimates that U.S. commerce growth will be stunted by 1 percent to 3 percent over the next three years as a result of this mistrust.

The survey also said around 85 percent of consumers delete suspicious e-mails without even opening them. That sounds like progress. Still, there's that pesky 15 percent who make it all worthwhile for the scammers, I suppose.

The Conference Board survey also found that the general level of anxiety about doing business on the Web differs markedly by age group, a finding that echoes other research. In a piece I wrote last year as part of a series online fraud, we mentioned data collected by the Ponemon Institute, which found that people in the 18-to-25 age bracket were nearly three times more likely to get hooked by an online scam than any other age group.

The Conference Board report surmises that younger people are less worried about their online privacy and security because they are more technologically adept, and perhaps because they have less to lose from a financial perspective than Internet users in older age groups.

I don't doubt for a second that there plenty of people every day who are abandoning the Internet as a way to shop. In my reporting for that phishing series I mentioned earlier, about half of the victims I interviewed said the experience upset them so much that they were finished with e-commerce. All but one were in the 50-and-over age group, by the way.

By Brian Krebs  |  June 23, 2005; 11:48 AM ET
Categories:  Fraud  
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When gasoline reaches $5.00 a gallon, the public will be more inclined to appreciate the advantages of e-commerence.

Posted by: eurovonage | June 23, 2005 5:59 PM | Report abuse

You people disgust me!

Let me say this in ALL CAPS so even AOL-ers can read it:


If the Truth hurts, if "e-commerce" can't tolerate the TRUTH, let them find their own medium!!

If you refuse to disclose how pathetically vulnerable you are to {whatever}, you have no business whining to the world when you find you have *NO BUSINESS*!!!

To put it another way, if you need privacy, stay off the Internet. Period. It's Just That Simple. If you want to conduct private business transactions, build your own "network of networks" with whatever security you want built in!!

Just to clue you in, the Internet you're clogging with your filthy lucre was invented to ENHANCE communication, not restrict it!! This place is not for you, if you can't stand the light of day.

"E-commerce"?? It's high time you were gone. Trust us, you won't like it here. Go buy Compuserve's assets! They're IPX-based (IIRC), and (by now) likely totally devoid of data, assuming their carrier still hums. You'll be Safe there! If we need you, we know how to route IP to IPX, as well has how to install native IPX support for ourselves.

The Internet is a "bad neighborhood" for you. Go away. We need the bandwidth!

Posted by: Honest-Suzerain | August 15, 2005 10:38 AM | Report abuse

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