Norton says you should watch out for scams this holiday season as Australians scramble to cut costs

Australians are being urged to protect themselves from fake holiday deals and shopping scams this holiday season as research shows 74% of Australians plan to cut costs due to rising living costs.

Norton conducted its study on The Harris Poll, surveying 1,005 Australian adults and finding that 74% of Australians will cut their expenses this holiday season, with 34% saying they would cut back on their technology purchases. Additionally, with the cost of living ever increasing – and despite news of recent high-profile data breaches – 10% of respondents still said they would willingly click on a questionable link if it offered them a good deal on tech products to offset the cost reduce .

“There is little doubt that recent widespread security issues across Australia are taking a toll on shoppers,” said Mark Gorrie, Norton’s senior director APAC. “This holiday shopping season, we expect people to be more aware of cybercrime issues. Be vigilant about offers that seem too good to be true. It is so important for people to be careful while shopping as they might be tempted to visit unknown websites or use links on their social media without having the software to report risks or keep their data and devices more secure to keep.”

Around a third of Australians surveyed (34%) say they have been victims of fraud when shopping online over the Christmas period, with victims reporting losing an average of $566 as a result. With the spread of technology to almost every facet of daily life and first-hand experience of online fraud, Australians are no strangers to threats in their online interactions.

Other insights are:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 Australians surveyed (87%) would be unwilling to click on a questionable link offering a good deal on technology products or a reduced energy bill to help cut costs due to inflation/rising cost of living.
  • Only 17% of Australians surveyed said they would be willing to give their own personal information or that of a friend or family member such as their name, email address or date of birth in order to receive a coveted gift or toy around the holiday season .
  • Almost a third of Australians surveyed (32%) are very concerned that their personal information such as address, credit card details, email etc. will be compromised when shopping online during the Christmas period.
  • 34% of Australians surveyed say they are very likely to check a retailer’s social media presence to see if it’s authentic to protect themselves from potential cybercrime during the holiday season.
  • Of those who experienced fraud during the holiday season, 49% say the scams came via email, 32% via social media, 28% via SMS or on a third-party website, and 26% via a phone call . 78% of these fraud victims lost money as a result.

The Norton research also suggests that most Australian adults plan to take steps to protect their mental health over the holidays, which for some involves changing their online behavior, including media and online news consumption.

Aussies are thinking ahead and planning to make managing their mental health a priority over the upcoming holiday season. 81% plan to take at least one action to manage their mental health, most commonly by spending time outdoors (58%), reading books (37%), and/or reconnecting with friends and family through social media (34%).

However, many respondents report that their mental health management will include adjustments to their online behavior — consuming more positive social media content (22%), disconnecting from social media completely (18%), muting or not following certain people, or Influencers on social media (16%) or muting or unfollowing online messages (13%).

Harris online survey sample accuracy is measured using a credible Bayesian interval. For this study, the sample data are accurate to within +3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. This credible interval will be wider among subsets of the studied population of interest.

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