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Further fraud concerns voiced over Christmas e-commerce surge

02 December 2011 - 09:46 by Mike Price

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Experts are continuing to emphasise the need for security if consumers want to achieve safe shopping online this Christmas, with a new study from PayPal suggesting that many Brits are not adhering to basic rules in order to protect their privacy and their bank accounts from manipulation.

The survey found that a fifth of UK shoppers who use the web have a password which they use across a number of different sites, which means that if it is compromised, then a whole host of their favourite services could be exploited.

In addition, about 33 per cent of people do not look out for the small padlock icon in their browser window that indicates they are involved in a session of safe shopping online. Without this their payments could be made over an unsecured connection, which might open them up to data theft at the hand of hackers.

PayPal spokesperson, Rob Skinner, said that the influx of consumers to the web was unsurprising given the popularity of Christmas, combined with economic pressures which are privileging low prices above anything else.

He said that this could lead to complacency as consumers rush to buy the gifts they need, but he advised shoppers to take the time to protect themselves when carrying out online shopping.

Christmas 2011 will see more gifts being bought online than ever before, with the average individual e-commerce spend rising by £245 compared with last year. There will be unavoidable losses due to fraud with such a large market emerging, but it is through expert advice and careful consideration of security that consumers will be able to enjoy e-commerce sites while avoiding threats.

Many will sidestep security risks by relying on major name retailers like Amazon, while using PayPal can help provide you with certain protection when using auction sites like eBay.