Six Million Victims of Web Fraud

Six million online consumers have been victims of credit card-related fraud or unauthorized use on the Web, according to a study conducted by Louis Harris & Associates for the National Consumer League.

“This survey shows that Web-era consumers are every bit as vulnerable as those who were around before the Internet changed the way that more of us do things,” said National Consumer League President Linda Golodner. “While the Web can empower consumers with information, it also leaves the unwary exposed to new variations on old fraud and abuse schemes. We now have a much better sense of how consumer groups can use new technologies to meet the evolving needs of Americans in the information age.”

The 6 million Web users who reported fraud or misuse of their credit card represent 7 percent of online consumers.

“While the 7 percent accounts for a still relatively small share of online users, the underlying number of 6,000,000 Americans marks this as a major consumer issue for the new century,” said Louis Harris Executive VP David Krane.

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Despite the high number of fraud cases reported in the “Consumers in the 21st Century,” most Americans remain open to technology-related advances. More than three-quarters of Americans look optimistically to the future with the belief that new technology will make life easier and more convenient. For example, the survey found that almost two-thirds (63 percent) expect that by the year 2020, wires will not be needed in homes to operate computers and phones.

The survey also found that consumers expect banking to be affected most by technology advances. Two-thirds believe that it is likely that by the year 2020 all banking will be done online. The public is evenly split on whether or not we will still be using paper money at that time, but three-quarters are secure with the idea of banking using ATMs and electronic fund transfers.

More than half (57 percent) of adults believe that by 2020 they will be shopping online more than they are today, and one-third feel they will be shopping more by telephone by 2020. Interestingly, the majority of consumers predict that the use of shopping malls will be unchanged in the future.

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