Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
As Christmas shoppers everywhere head online looking for good deals, Internet security software distributor, AVG (AU/NZ) is promoting safe online shopping this holiday season.

“Online shopping offers many benefits, including the ability to shop at any time of the day or night that is convenient,” said Lloyd Borrett, Marketing Manager, AVG (AU/NZ). “To help, we’ve developed a set of practical tips to help shoppers keep their personal information safe while they are saving time and getting great deals by shopping online.”

“Just as we encourage people to be careful as they’re shopping in a shopping mall or crowded store, everyone should take appropriate steps to protect themselves while shopping online,” Borrett said. “Simple steps, like looking for the 'secure site' padlock on your browser page when purchasing, or making sure you’re buying from a reputable company, can prevent potential headaches down the road.“

AVG (AU/NZ) offers six tips for online shoppers this holiday season:

1. Look for the “S” for security. Make sure the web sites you are shopping from are secure and have “https” in the URL when you are in their checkout/purchase process. The “s” ensures security. When you are in the secure section of a web site, you will also see an icon for a locked padlock on your browser, either on the address bar or on the bottom right corner. Additionally, use the Internet to research online retailers not familiar to you. There are many sites such as www.getprice.com.au, www.eshop.com.au and others that provide info on retailers.

2. Stay current on security software. This means making sure you have the latest virus protection software updates from your security software provider. It’s important because the bad guys move around frequently. Security software companies are working to stay one step ahead of them. If you are updated, you are staying one step ahead, too.

3. Think before you link. Employ a URL scanning tool to ensure you will be warned if you click on links that lead to infected web pages. The time to find out whether a page is bad is BEFORE you load it into your web browser. AVG LinkScanner does this. It’s free, and it works with all other security and anti-virus offerings.

4. Keep your private information private. When shopping online, create a separate e-mail account that is just for shopping. Use a unique password, different from any other accounts you have. Your dedicated shopping e-mail account should be in no way affiliated with your personal, everyday e-mail account. Also, keep records of your online shopping — print confirmation pages and e-mail confirmations.

5. Mix up your passwords. Each shopping account, bank account, credit card account, and e-mail account should have a unique password. Write them down and keep the information in a secure location. Unique passwords for each account make it tougher for a thief to steal your personal information.

6. Use common sense. Make sure you use reasonable judgement when buying online and be on the lookout for spoof stores. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Take a minute or two to make sure it’s not a fake/spoof web site. If the online retailer doesn’t provide a physical address, or contact phone numbers, be cautious. Make sure you understand the refund and return policies of any online retailer you are planning to buy from, especially if it’s based overseas, just in case something were to go wrong.

“More of us than ever before will be doing our Christmas shopping online this year,” said Borrett. “But there is no reason to sacrifice security in the hunt for a great bargain. Following the simple tips above will help minimise the chances of you becoming a victim of online fraud or cyber criminals.

For more AVG security tips, see http://www.avg.com.au/resources/security-tips/

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