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Security concerns stifle e-commerce use

18 May 2016 - 10:48 by Simon Crisp

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A large proportion of consumers in the US have revealed that issues with security and privacy have made them hesitant to carry out a number of popular online activities, including safe shopping online, according to a new study from the Department of Commerce.

BBC News reports that 45 per cent of households have refrained from indulging in banking, e-commerce and even social media use because of fears about the levels of protection they are afforded by the providers of these services.

For shopping in particular, it was found that 26 per cent have decided not to purchase items online because they are not confident in the ability of popular retailers to keep them safe from cybercriminals.

Two thirds said that identity theft was the biggest threat they faced when using online services, while 45 per cent said that they were aware of the risks that might result from this, including credit card fraud and other financial issues.

A fifth of households reported that some kind of security breach had hit them within the past 12 months. This shows that the problems are not isolated, but rather have an impact on a large swathe of the population, both in North America and here in the UK.

For British consumers, the ability to carry out safe shopping online is strengthened thanks to the availability of secure, reputable websites run by major retailers and backed up by comprehensive customer support systems.

This is why it is sensible to avoid shopping on sites which do not have a mainstream presence and about which there is little information available from third parties. People should be able to use the internet freely, but if security concerns are stifling activities then action needs to be taken by regulators to address this issue.