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Online Anxiety

Confidence about privacy remains a major concern for Internet users, according to the newly issued consumer Internet barometer.

The quarterly gauge of America's use and attitudes about the Internet is produced jointly by NFO WorldGroup, Forrester Research and the Conference Board.

Many consumers still don't fully trust that their personal information is secure, said Lynn Franco, a board director. About one in four Web users does not trust personal information will be safe while doing personal research or communication tasks, while only 22 percent believe online purchasing data transactions are secure.

However, there is an exception to the generalization. "More than 31 percent of consumers who engage in online financial transactions trust that their personal information will be safe, compared to 27 percent a year ago," Franco said.

The report found the percentage of Americans online at least once a month topped 61 percent during the third quarter of this year. That's a 2 percent rise from a year ago. She also said 31 percent of online consumers spent more than $250 during the period, up from 28 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

"The rise, coupled with the increase in traffic as the holiday season approaches, should help boost online sales," Franco added.

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