Thursday, June 2, 2005

The Vulnerable Consumer Sovereign

The Annenberg Public Policy Center at The University of Pennsylvania released a study on consumer fraud on and off the Internet.  Some of the findings reported in "Open to Exploitation" include:

  • Seventy-five percent of respondents wrongly believe that if a Web site has a privacy policy, it won't share their information with third parties.

  • Almost half of the respondents, 49%, couldn't identify "phishing" scam e-mail messages, which information thieves dress up to look as though they come from a legitimate company, such as a bank or store, to lure users to enter sensitive information. Requested information might include Social Security numbers, passwords and bank account numbers.

  • Sixty-two percent of respondents didn't know that an online store can simultaneously charge different prices for the same item based on information it has on different shoppers.
  • The study concludes with policy recommendations to educate and provide better information for consumers.  A link to an article about that study that contains a pdf link can be found here.

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