Irish businesses are losing millions of pounds each year, thanks to consumer fears of identity theft.
Similar results would be found in the UK and across the world, according to researchers at IT management software provider Computer Associates (CA).
CA calculated from its study of ID fraud concerns and their commercial impact that Irish business are losing out on €250m (£172m) in annual revenue because so many consumers are avoiding online transactions.
Chief among consumer concerns is the prospect of having credit card details stolen or exposed, a worry for 81 per cent of Irish internet users. Exposure of personal information, such as postal addresses and phone numbers, worried 37 per cent.
In many cases, the fears were based on experience. Market research group Behaviour & Attitudes has reported that more than 15,000 Irish internet users may have fallen victim to phishing scams.
In CA's study, two per cent of the internet-using population claimed to have had their identity stolen, and a further 10 per cent said it had happened to somebody they know.
These experiences and fears have had a serious impact on online commerce. Of the 1.4 million Irish adults online, a quarter are 'very concerned' about identity theft and do not buy or sell goods online. A further 30 per cent said they were 'fairly concerned'.
Only 17 per cent of Irish consumers believe that online organisations are currently doing enough to protect their private data, and one in 10 online transactions are not completed because of security concerns.
The survey also found that many internet users who do buy or sell online have "at least occasionally" backed out of a transaction due to fears over security.
CA security expert Sean O'Connell advised businesses to seek support in improving website development and security provisions.
"Ultimately, Irish businesses need to be seen to take greater levels of care of consumer personal details such as passwords and credit card details," O'Connell told ElectricNews.net.
"Companies need to increase the layers of security and precautions and invest in better technology, better processes and ongoing staff training."
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