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British consumers are scared of shopping online, even those who do shop online say etailers could do more to make them feel safer.

Of those who shop online 69 per cent think etailers could do more to make them feel safer. One in five Internet users have never bought anything online.

Half of those who had never shopped online said it was because they were worried about putting their credit card details online. Just less than half, 44 per cent, believed there was a greater risk of getting ripped off online. More than a third of Internet users, 38 per cent, admitted to having an "irrational fear" of the Internet and 35 per cent simply don't know how to make a purchase online.

And 41 per cent said they did not know how to tell if a web page is using a secure connection.

Even those who do shop online seem to do so in a state of near paralysing fear - 68 per cent do not think it is safe to put your credit card details online and 19 per cent only shop online as a last resort.

Dr. Cynthia McVey, psychologist at Glasgow University, said: "Placing your card details online can sometimes feel like a dangerous public disclosure. People need to be reassured that safeguards are in place... There's no real basis for the fear of being defrauded. A fear of shopping on the Web is really a fear of computer technology generally - it also reflects a general fear of the unknown."

Researchers spoke to 1,005 Internet users between 1 and 25 March. The survey was carried out to promote Verified by Visa - which requires a password to verify credit card transactions. ®

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