A third of web users refuse to shop online, says the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

According to research into internet shopping, 20 percent of internet users that avoid online retailers blame security fears, while 15 percent said they did not trust companies that sell online.

Of those that do shop online, 72 percent said they still had concerns about buying goods on the internet.

"Online retailing is the future for many businesses and increasingly important to the economy. If consumers are not confident online, demand will grow at a slower rate. So, we must tackle these concerns right now if the online market is to grow at its full potential," said John Fingleton, OFT chief executive.

"Unfortunately as the number of people shopping online increases, so does the number affected by online fraud," added Matt Hampton, chief technical officer at IT security expert Imerja.

"Shoppers can make sure that they stay safe online by following a few basic guidelines. It's advisable to only purchase goods from a trusted site or seller, while it is always worth checking that there are full contact details available. If in any doubt, make contact with them before completing the purchase."