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For the first time, consumers say they are more at ease providing their credit card and other personal information online than they are over the telephone, but they also say they remain concerned over privacy, according to a survey being released March 13 by Market Facts Interactive.

The study reported that 74.5% of respondents said they are concerned about their personal information being distributed online, while 71.1% said they were concerned about being monitored while online. Some 56.9% said they were "comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" giving credit card information over the Internet, compared to 43.5% by telephone.

Junk e-mail, or spam, was another trouble area with the respondents, with 74.9% of consumers questioned saying they were "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" about receiving unsolicited e-mail.

The study also found that despite the lag in PC sales, 41% of consumers said they planned to upgrade their personal computers this year.

The telephone survey, which was conducted in February, polled 1,823 people with margin of error of plus or minus 3%. Market Facts Interactive is a division of Market Facts, an Arlington Heights, Ill.-based market researcher.

Copyright March 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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