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ONLINE BUSINESS

Holiday Shoppers Fear Online Fraud

Though global in reach, identity theft is more prevalent in English-speaking countries, a study finds.
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With the holiday season around the corner, online shoppers worldwide are growing more concerned about Web-based scams and identity theft, especially in English-speaking countries, according to an Ipsos study released this week.

Three quarters of 1,000 online shoppers polled said they were concerned about online scams or identity theft, the Paris-based research firm reported.

The study found that online shoppers in the U.S. Canada and the U.K. are twice as likely to have their identities stolen, compared to those in France, Germany, or Spain.

Researchers said part of the reason is that English-language speakers tend to use online passwords and other login data more frequently than online shoppers from other language groups. Sharing passwords and using personal information in login data, like birthdays or nicknames that are often published on social networking sites, can also make consumers more susceptible to scams, the study said.

While online fraud impacts consumers across the world, identity theft tends to occur more frequently in countries where e-commerce activity is concentrated, according to PayPal, an online payment company that sponsored the survey.

The study suggests using more complex passwords, installing anti-virus software, and avoiding suspicious emails as ways consumers can better protect their privacy.

“E-commerce is growing in prominence around the world, and fraudsters will likely follow the money,” Michael Barrett, the firm’s chief information security officer, said in a statement. “Consumers everywhere can stay one step ahead and better protect themselves online by following a few simple steps.”

Last updated: Oct 21, 2008




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