Tangled Web Scares Online Consumers

Physician's Money Digest, November 2005, Volume 12, Issue 15

Wall Street Journal

Internet fraud has steadily crept up onAmerican consumers, and they're reacting.Major credit data sources were recentlytapped, sharing individuals' account informationwith identity thieves. E-mail virusesand scams have plagued inboxes, particularlyphishing scams, in which phony emailsdesigned to look like messages frombanks and other trusted companies enticeconsumers to share private information onfraudulent Web sites. According to an articlein the , research firmGartner Inc conducted a survey of 5000online US consumers. The survey's resultsshow that half of all US Internet users thinkthey have received a phishing e-mail, up28% from a year ago. An estimated 2.4 milliononline users have lost a combined totalof roughly $929 million to Internet scamsfrom May 2004 to May 2005. This trend ishitting bank and retailers' purse strings aswell. Of the consumers surveyed, 42% saythey are cutting back on online shoppingand 28% are easing off online banking forfear of identity theft.