Many people look forward to the holidays as a time to spend with friends and family, sing their favorite holiday jingles or enjoy the delicious festive fare. For savvy shoppers, this time of year also offers a chance to take advantage of major discounts, whether you’re buying gifts for loved ones or yourself.

online security tips

However, lured by the promise of getting the must-have toy of the season or the latest tech gadget at half the price, bargain hunters all too often fall for online scams to steal their personal and financial information. Although online shopping continues to be a popular and easy way for people to get their holiday shopping done, it can also open the door to scams from savvy cybercrooks.

According to Norton by Symantec, the leading online security company, holiday emails with taglines like, You have received a Christmas Greeting Card!” and “Cash for the New Year” have already started appearing in people’s inboxes. Although the messages can seem harmless, they may contain viruses and worms that will damage your computer, or worse, send you to websites designed to steal your email and bank account information.

Cyber criminals tend to use holidays, festive seasons and popular events to lure unsuspecting users into their malicious traps. The recent Norton Cybercrime Report 2011 found that 80 percent of Singaporeans have been a victim of cybercrime in their lifetime.

Follow these tips to stay safe this holiday season:

noton-online-security1. Check your list twice – If you receive a suspicious email, whether it’s offering discounts that are too good to be true or is filled with grammatical errors, delete the message. It could be part of a scam to trick you into downloading a virus or giving away your personal information.

2. Find out which websites are “naughty” and “nice” – When conducting transactions online, make sure the website address contains “https” instead of “http” which indicates an added layer of protection. Also, scan the entire web page for a trust mark, such as the VeriSign Trust Seal. These marks demonstrate that a trusted company has taken comprehensive measures to certify security, online business ethics and customer privacy standards.

3. Don’t let scams turn your festive holiday into the blues – Use trusted online security software, like Norton Internet Security 2012 or a mobile solution like Norton Mobile Security to make sure you’re protected against online threats and help ensure safe shopping, from home or on-the-go, this season.

For more information on how to stay safe online, please visit Norton’s here.

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