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Dangerous deals: Four-in-five European consumers willing to exchange personal data for big online discounts

As citizens across Europe tighten their financial belts due to widespread job losses caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, while also spending less time in physical stores to adhere to social distancing measures, research reveals that consumers are willing to take greater risks with their personal information to help them save money this Christmas. New findings from Kaspersky has found that 84% of shoppers are willing to share personal details, like their email addresses and telephone numbers, with retailers to get a big discount on their festive purchases.

With Christmas quickly approaching, many consumers are now getting ready to spend what they can and maximise their savings. This has led to many consumers being prepared to take risks to grab a bargain. Just a quarter (25%) of those surveyed are aware scams that are more prevalent during the Christmas holidays, or sales shopping periods, and are not willing to take the risk for a big discount. Less than a fifth (17%) say they will only shop with large brands to avoid security risks.

Kaspersky’s findings also reveal that only a small proportion of consumers are conscious that trouble may lie ahead if they are not cautious while they shop online – especially considering that the holiday period is notorious for phishing scams. For instance, just a third (33%) say they are not willing to shop through a website that looks illegitimate and not even as many (29%) believe they are aware of potential security risks of unknown brands offering big discounts that may turn out to be scams.

“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. But 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,” comments David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky.

Bargain hunters are urged to remain wary of potential Black Friday and festive season sales scams while they do their online shopping. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Shop online with confidence this Christmas by following our advice on avoiding retail scams:

  • Only shop with legitimate online stores. It’s always safer to type in the address yourself, or select it from your bookmarks, rather than clicking on a link. Also, use your browser address bar to check if the website you are visiting is genuine and secure
  • Complete purchases through secure payment methods. Pay with credit cards or robust payment services to buy goods so that transactions remain protected
  • Verify discounts. If you receive a sales discount via email or text, check the sender and any web links are legitimate before clicking
  • Keep your device software and applications up-to-date and protect all your devices with a reputable internet security product. Cybersecurity solutions with behaviour-based anti-phishing technologies, such as Kaspersky Total Security, can send your notifications if you are trying to visit a phishing web page
  • Manage your passwords. Password managers can help you shop with multiple retailers by safely storing your credentials, so they are unique for all of your online accounts