More than four in five (84%) consumers are willing to share personal information with retailers in order to save money on their Christmas shopping, according to new research from Kaspersky.
Ahead of Black Friday later this week, the study found that the vast majority of shoppers are willing to risk sending data such as email addresses and telephone numbers to take advantage of bargains they receive or see online. Fraudsters are therefore likely to take advantage of this increased desire to save money, which is partly fuelled by the economic crisis and job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Worryingly, just a quarter (25%) of consumers surveyed said they were aware scams are more frequent during Christmas and other sales shopping periods and will not risk sharing data for a discount.
In addition, just 17% would only shop with large brands to avoid security risks while only a third (33%) were unwilling to use a website that looks illegitimate. Under a third (29%) said they were aware that unknown brands offering major discounts could pose significant security risks.
David Emm, the principal security researcher at Kaspersky, commented: “Online shopping is a tempting and easy way to part with our hard-earned cash. Emails with bargains and offers land in our inbox and with just a few clicks the goods can be winging their way to our homes without us having to ever leave the sofa. This can be a risky business at the best of times. As brands launch seasonal sales over the next few weeks ahead of what is predicted to be one of the busiest Black Friday and sale shopping periods ever for online retailers, scammers are more primed than usual to take advantage of unwitting consumers.
“Given the year we have had, any bargains or major discounts will be very tempting as many people try to make the most of the festive period. However, we encourage shoppers to be mindful and think about the data they are handing over in a bid for a bargain. Think about whether it’s absolutely necessary to share your personal information for each purchase and if it’s not, is it just a trick to lure you into disclosing your data. By ensuring deals are genuine before making any purchases, consumers can reduce the risk of potential pitfalls and enjoy their Christmas.”
Yesterday, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued refreshed guidance for online shopping ahead of this week’s Black Friday in light of the increased number of online shopping transactions in the run-up to Christmas this year.