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One in five UK surfers are "too scared" to shop online, according to a new survey.

UK Christmas shoppers will spend an estimated £13bn online during this festive season, a 42 per cent increase on last year. But despite all this economic activity 20 per cent of web users still avoid e-shopping because of fears about their safety online, according to a recent survey of more than 2,000 British adults.

Scam websites that fail to deliver ordered items as well as general concerns about online fraud acted as a deterrent for online refuseniks. The Get Safe Online campaign, the UK’s national internet security awareness campaign, which sponsored the survey said such concerns ought not to keep people away from enjoying the benefits of e-commerce, providing they take appropriate precautions.

Tony Neate, managing director of GetSafeOnline.org, says: "People do need to be vigilant when shopping online, but fear of the risks shouldn’t stop you. Being aware of the warning signs, and taking a few simple precautions, is all that’s needed to shop with confidence. Keep your wits about you, and if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is."

Get Safe Online’s has developed a list of top tips for shopping safely online this Christmas:

  • Buy only from reputable companies – look for evidence of a physical address, contact telephone numbers.
  • Make sure you use a secure web site to enter credit card information. Look for a padlock symbol in the bottom right of the browser window and for the website address to begin with 'https://'
  • If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Cross-check information on the internet and see if anyone else has had problems.
  • Be extremely wary of anything that is offered in an unsolicited or spam email.

Mind how you go. ®

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