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Shoppers Taking Risks When Going Online for Christmas Gifts

Posted on 3-Nov-2022 07:05 | Filed under: News

Shoppers Taking Risks When Going Online for Christmas Gifts

The rising cost of living will have an impact on consumers' Christmas shopping habits this year, according to a global study by Norton, a leading Cyber Safety brand from NortonLifeLock. More than three in four New Zealanders (77%) say they are likely to take action this holiday season to help cut costs due to the rising cost of living, with some (8%) even willing to click on a questionable link to save money.


In fact, nearly a quarter of New Zealanders (22%) surveyed say they tend to take more risks when online shopping during the holiday season than at other times of the year, like buying from an unknown seller and clicking on online ads.


This is despite the fact that more than a quarter of those surveyed (28%) saying they had already been the victim of a scam during previous holiday seasons, losing on average NZ$ 509.


The results also show that while people are aware of the risks online, nearly a quarter of New Zealand adults (24%) surveyed have made a holiday season purchase by clicking on questionable ads on social media, putting themselves at risk of fraud. The research was conducted online in August 2022 among 1,001 New Zealand adults by The Harris Poll.


This year, respondents name toys, books or board games (40%), smartphones (34%), smartwatches (33%), and gaming consoles (32%) as the most sought-after gifts. Furthermore, the study shows that half of Kiwi adults surveyed (50%) would be willing to take various actions this Christmas season to get a coveted gift. Thus, 30% say they will probably spend more than three hours searching online. However, some go a step further: 13% would also risk their personal or online safety by sharing personal information.


With large-scale breaches and identity theft making the news, three-quarters (75%) of New Zealand adults surveyed admit they are concerned their personal details will be compromised shopping online, and 55% are worried they will be scammed by a third-party retailer. Additionally:


  • 51% are concerned a device they buy for someone else is digitally unsafe
  • 49% are concerned that a device they receive as a gift is hacked
  • 47% are concerned their holiday travel arrangements or accommodations are being ruined by a scammer
  • 43% are concerned about buying or receiving a refurbished device as a gift.

Furthermore, nearly two in five of Kiwi adults surveyed (38%) admit to risking their personal information or privacy in one of the following ways during the holiday season – posting a picture of their travel destination (24%), tagging their current location on social media (19%), posting a picture of an expensive gift they received (12%), posting a picture showing their train/plane/bus ticket without removing any personal information (10%), and/or revealing their travel plans on social media (10%). Younger adults are more than three times as likely to conduct any of these behaviours during the holiday season (68% aged 18-39 vs. 20% aged 40+).


“New Zealand’s inflation rate is understandably tough on wallets and we expect that will make this Christmas season particularly appealing to scammers. Kiwis need to remain vigilant and be really careful to protect themselves when shopping this holiday, as cybercriminals will leverage ‘too good to be true’ deals to steal credit card details and other private information,” says Mark Gorrie, Norton Managing Director APJ, NortonLifeLock.


“These criminals only require a few pieces of your personal information to commit fraud and identity theft, so New Zealanders should stick to reputable sites to avoid their data being compromised and shared on the dark web,” added Gorrie.


To help New Zealanders stay safer this holiday season, Norton recommends these key actionable steps to avoiding risks while shopping online:


  1. Stick to reputable retailers: Do your due diligence, including checking seller ratings, and preferably purchasing from retailers with a physical address, a customer service phone number and a professional-looking site. Warning signs of sketchy sites include poor spelling, odd design and slow loading.
  2. Avoid suspicious links from social media ads or unfamiliar emails:  Chasing a bargain? Don’t click on suspicious links even if they look attractive. Stay vigilant and don’t fall for the cheap price tag.
  3. If you get a message, an email or an SMS about an item you didnt order, stop and think: If you’re unsure whether a message is legitimate, contact the business through established channels you can find, chat through their website or call their customer service phone number
  4. Use a virtual private network (VPN) when making online purchases on public or unsecured Wifi
  5. Look out for fake websites: Fraudsters may set up fake websites of products that don't exist so they can collect payments for goods that they'll never send. They may even provide “excuses” for a while, so by the time you realise you might be stuck out of pocket and missing a gift for someone on your list.
  6. Use reputable online safety tools:  Identity theft is an ongoing concern, with people’s personal data used to take out loans and secure credit cards in the victim’s name. 



The report is available for download now (PDF).


More information: