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55% of web users will shop online this Christmas

But shoppers may be putting themselves at risk

More than half (55 percent) of web users plan to use the net to purchase half of their Christmas shopping, says Webroot.

Research by the security firm revealed the number of web users looking to the net for Christmas shopping has surged from 38 percent last year.

However, 48 percent of online Christmas shoppers will use a search engine, such as Google, to find gifts online, and more than half of those claim they trust the first few pages of results.

Just over a third (37 percent) use different passwords for each online shopping site they use and more than half (52 percent) don't bother checking for an https connection before making purchases, while 50 percent don't look for the padlock in the browser's status bar before making purchases.

However, more than half (52 percent) claim they only purchase from sites with some form of trust certification, such as those issued by VeriSign.

Furthermore, 18 percent said they will use public Wi-Fi to shop online for gifts, compared to 12 percent in 2009, which means more web users will be vulnerable to having their credit card details stolen by hackers.

"This holiday season, we want to make it easy for people to buy gifts online safely," said Jeff Horne, threat research director at Webroot.

"To end the year on a safe note, we urge all online shoppers to adopt some best practices before breaking out their holiday gift lists."

Horne warned web users to navigate to a site directly instead of using a search engine to retrive the URL, as well as using different passwords for each online shopping account and look for 'https' in the address bar and a padlock icon in the browser status bar when making a transaction.

He also recommended being wary of spam emails claiming to feature details about seasonal offers and to keep a check on all credit card, debit card and online payment account such as PayPal so that if fraud occurs it can be dealt with quickly.

See also: Web retailers slug it out as retail open season approaches

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