LONDON, November 16 /PRNewswire/ --

LONDON, November 16 /PRNewswire/ --

ATTN: Yorkshire Editors

- Millions Scared of Being 'Click Pocketed'

Ten million(i) Britons are petrified of being 'click pocketed' when they shop online, new research reveals.

The '3V Online Shopping Confidence Barometer'(ii) from secure payment provider 3V, shows that over a third (35%) of Yorkshire's internet shoppers still fear their card details will be stolen and used fraudulently.

And ahead of the busy Christmas shopping period, when Britons are each expected to spend GBP511(iii) online, nearly seven in ten (67%) of the region's web consumers - more than 17 million people(iv) nation-wide - have called for tougher penalties for identified online fraudsters.

Half (50%) of those surveyed believe that the Government should issue clearer guidelines for secure online shopping, while two fifths (40%) of people in Yorkshire think retail sites can help by reassuring the public that their payment card details will remain safe.

The 3V research also reveals that the UK's e-commerce industry could be missing out on a massive GBP23 billion(v) each year, with consumers saying that they would make two additional online purchases a month if they had 100% confidence in internet security.

Despite over half (55%) of people in Yorkshire now using more and varied websites for internet shopping than a year ago, they are still nervous about putting financial details onto such sites. Established sites such as Amazon are considered much more trustworthy by more than seven in ten (71%). Whereas over half (56%) of online consumers are considering using alternative payment methods such as 3V Vouchers or other pre-paid tools, saying it would give them added security when purchasing online.

Kieron Guilfoyle, chief executive of 3V Transaction Services, said: "The British public has strong reservations about the safety of their credit and debit card details when shopping online.

"Internet shopping has become incredibly popular over the past few years, and it's up to the Government, retailers and the payments industry to ensure that we create a secure environment for consumers to enjoy all the perks of internet shopping without a fear of becoming a victim of fraud."

Fraud expert Professor Martin Gill, of the Perpetuity Consultancy, added: "Fraudsters, online or elsewhere, look for easy targets, so people need to make sure they are protected. Shoppers can also do their bit by taking simple precautions, such as not giving away personal details until they know the authenticity of those asking.

"Victims of fraud can get assistance from a number of agencies, for example CIFAS, but the authorities need to be contacted immediately after an incident occurs."

People worried about being 'click pocketed' can protect themselves in the following ways when shopping online:

1) Basic security packages: Install personal firewall software, anti-viral programmes and anti-spyware so that people cannot scan your PC when you are logged in to the internet

2) Safe payment: Use alternative payment methods such as 3V VISA Prepaid Vouchers so that you are not giving sensitive financial details away. 3) Look for a padlock symbol on the website that you are shopping on: This means that the site encrypts your vital financial details when they are transmitted to the payment processor, so protects you from fraud. Three quarters (75%) of those surveyed said the padlock symbol at the bottom left of the screen makes them feel more secure

4) Check the web address: If a site appears with 'https://' in the url (web address), it means that there is an extra layer of security between the site and the rest of the web, so it's harder for others to access your details. More than a third (35%) of those surveyed look out for the 'https://' text in the internet address bar to feel more secure

5) Look out for reassuring messages: Two in five (39%) like to see a message or pop-up box on the screen telling them that they are being taken to a secure site

APACS figures issued in October show that money lost to CNP (card not present) fraud rocketed to GBP137 million in the first half of 2007 - up 44% on last year - showing that the British public are right to be wary of 'click pocketing'.

3V VISA Prepaid Vouchers can help customers feel safe and secure when shopping online. They are the UK's only open-loop prepaid shopping Voucher, and are accepted anywhere online that carries the VISA logo. The cost of buying 3V Vouchers has recently been reduced, meaning they are now better value than ever. From 12 November, GBP20 3V Vouchers carry no surcharge, meaning online shoppers seeking low-value items will be able to use the secure service for free. Vouchers between GBP30 and GBP100 cost just GBP2.00, while derivatives between GBP110 and GBP200 cost GBP3.50.

The new 3V Voucher balance transfer service also means that balances on existing 3V VISA Prepaid Vouchers, which are available from over 25,000 payzone retailers in the UK, can be transferred to other 3V Vouchers that have not expired.

(i) IMRG estimates that a total of 27 million Britons will shop online this Christmas. 27 million x 0.37= 9.99 million.

(ii) 3V commissioned YouGov to speak to 2,088 UK adults in October 2007

(iii) According to IMRG estimates, November 2007

(iv) 27 million x 0.63

(v) Average online purchase value (GBP71 - APACS) x 12 items each year per online shopper x 27,000,000 online shoppers in the UK

Notes to Editors

3V Transaction Services

3V Transaction Services Ltd provides innovative prepaid debit products primarily for use in online payment transactions. It was launched to target the unserviced EUR500 billion European prepaid card market. Following their launch in October 2005 in Ireland, 3V Vouchers has launched in the UK and will be rolling out in Germany, Holland and Spain in the future.

The 3V Voucher enables everyone over the age of 16 to shop online, wherever VISA is accepted - without using either a credit or debit card. Simple to buy - just like purchasing mobile phone top up - the 3V Voucher allows you to shop online without the fear of fraud or going into the red. Visit http://www.3vcash.com for more information.

Irish Life & Permanent Plc

The Irish Life & Permanent group is a leading provider of personal financial services in the Irish market. The group formed from the merger of Irish Life plc and Irish Permanent plc in 1999. The group's strategic focus is on Ireland and its successful economy, with our ambition to be the number one provider of personal financial services.

Irish Life is Ireland's largest life assurance company and the market leader in the provision of life, pension and investment products. Its products and services are distributed through a wide range of channels including bank branches, independent intermediaries and brokers, the Irish Life salesforce and directly to customers.

permanent tsb, formed following the acquisition of TSB Bank in 2001, is the retail banking operation of the group and is the leading provider of residential mortgage finance in Ireland. It offers a full range of personal banking services in the Irish market through a multi-channel distribution network of branches, intermediaries, agencies, retail outlets and internet.

For all media enquiries and to arrange an interview, please call Sam Holl or Nick Tuckwood at Teamspirit PR on +44(0)20-7438-9400

For all media enquiries and to arrange an interview, please call Sam Holl or Nick Tuckwood at Teamspirit PR on +44(0)20-7438-9400