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Internet fraud is on the increase and could severely impede the development of e-commerce unless action is taken to stamp it out, according to a report in the Financial Times. If left unchecked, the already fragile consumer confidence in e-commerce could disintegrate even before this much-heralded business revolution has even had time to get going. Visa has said that despite the fact that Internet transactions account for only one per cent of its £463 billion turnover in the European Union, nearly half of all disputes are Net related. These range from financial fraud to complaints that goods were not delivered in time. The report in the Financial Times coincides with news that a group of banks, including ABN Amro, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and Chase Manhattan, intends to offer e-tailers financial guarantees. The joint venture, called Identrus, would guarantee the identity on an e-business trading on the Net and would also include some kind of financial security. "Unless you have an electronic identity and the ability to trust the holder and signer of that identity, e-commerce can't take place," said Guy Tallent, president and CE of Identrus, speaking to the Financial Times. ®

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