One in 10 online adults could become a victim of cyber-fraud this holiday season, according to a joint warning issued today by the National Consumers League (NCL) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).
According to the latest NCSA/Symantec Online Fraud Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, about six in 10 US web users shop online and one in 10 say they have been a victim of online fraud.
The study also found that 37 per cent of online adults have increased the number of online transactions they conduct compared to a year ago, increasing the likelihood that they will do more holiday shopping online this season.
"Each year the number of people shopping online continues to increase, especially on 'Cyber Monday', the Monday after Thanksgiving," said Ron Teixeira, executive director of the NCSA.
"This year, in partnership with the NCL, we want to remind consumers to take simple security steps to protect themselves so they can enjoy the holidays without cyber-crime woes."
In addition to securing their computers, consumers are urged to ensure that they are dealing with reputable merchants.
"Knowing who you are dealing with and providing your financial information securely are very important when shopping online," said Susan Grant, director of the NCL's National Fraud Information Center.
The NCL and NCSA have issued new guidelines to ensure that holiday shopping is a happy experience:
- Do not shop online while using an unencrypted or open wireless network
- Before connecting to the internet or shopping online, install up-to-date antivirus and anti-spyware programs, install a firewall, and regularly update operating system software
- Before shopping online with an unknown e-store, check out the seller and be sure to get the name and physical address of the seller in case something goes wrong
- Do not give away your financial information to unsecured websites
- Protect personal information with common sense and technology. Be suspicious if someone unexpectedly asks for personal information
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