Online Threats Concerning More Americans

Spam, viruses

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Internet users are becoming increasingly concerned about online threats such as viruses, spam and identity theft, according to survey by the American Consumer Institute.

Consumers also report significant worry that their privacy might be invaded by programs that track and record which Internet sites they visit.

The majority (74%) of those surveyed said they were "very concerned," about identity theft, compared to 68 percent who indicated great worry about identity theft in a similar ACI survey from 2006.

The number who said they were very concerned about viruses increased from 61 percent in 2006 to 70 percent and concern about spam rose from 51 percent to 56 percent from two years ago.

The survey of 648 households with Internet included three new questions compared to the survey conducted in 2006. The new questions revealed that privacy is a greater concern than spam, with 61 percent of those polled reporting "great concern" that their privacy is at risk because of online tracking programs.

One half of those surveyed reported significant concerns about unwanted online advertisements, and 45 percent said they were very worried about spyware.

"The survey shows that consumers draw a distinction between threats that can cause serious problems and those that come under the heading of annoyances," ACI president Steve Pociask says. 

"Identity theft and computer viruses can be extremely disruptive and it’s not surprising that they top consumer concerns.  However, consumer concerns about privacy, online safety and the handing of personal information suggest that some online providers are not doing enough to tell consumers what information is being collected, how long it will be kept and how will it be used, or, for that matter, whether consumers can opt out of its collection altogether."  

Online Threats Concerning More Americans
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