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Online Users Are More Skeptical

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Recent studies have shown that most people start their search for a new home by accessing sites on the Internet, in addition to handling many financial affairs online. However, a growing proportion of online users have become very skeptical about privacy issues related to their online use.

More than one-fifth of adults — or 21 percent — say they've had an email or social media account hijacked, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. What's more, 11 percent say they've had important information stolen, such as a social security number, bank account number or credit card.

Most adults — nearly 60 percent — don't believe it's possible to be completely anonymous online, according to the survey of more than 1,000 adults. As such, many people say they take at least some steps to protect their privacy online.

In fact, 86 percent of Internet users say they've taken steps to remove or mask their digital footprint, via actions such as clearing cookies, encrypting email or using virtual networks to mask their Internet protocol address.

Fifty-five percent of the adults admit they've also taken steps to "avoid observation" by specific people, organizations or the government, according to the survey.

What you do online can also affect your reputation, as some of the adults surveyed learned. Six percent of adults say they've had their reputation damaged because of something that happened online, according to an article published by the National Association of Realtors.

Q: Why are residential rentals so active these days?

A: Single-family rentals appear poised to become a significant class of long-term investment asset, according to a new report by financial services firm Keefe, Bruyette and Woods.

The general increase in the rental market brought on by the recession, coupled with elements of recovery such as low inventory and strong re-sales suggest that broad institutional investment in single-family rental properties could emerge as an appealing market, attracting more players in the process.

To find out more about Jim Woodard and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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