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What do online shopping survey results reveal about our cybersecurity habits?

We all love to keep an eye peeled for the best deals available, especially with the holiday season rapidly approaching. This year, NordVPN reached out to 8,000+ people around the world to survey how safe our online shopping habits are and just how much we’re willing to risk to get the best deal out there.

Charles Whitmore

Charles Whitmore

What do online shopping survey results reveal about our cybersecurity habits?

How safe are your online shopping habits?

We’re always drawn to a good deal, especially when that deal seems exceptionally good. Some Black Friday deals are in this vein, with hundreds of dollars of potential savings. Unfortunately, it also makes it easy for the cybercriminal to lay their trap.

Social engineering is a powerful tool for the tech-savvy hacker. The whole point of social engineering is to get an unwitting victim to click or download something dodgy. A common tactic around this time of the year is to dress up a malicious link with hard-to-ignore language.

  • “Get the deal NOW before time runs out!”
  • “Limited time deal – click now!”
  • “80% off but only for the next 12 hours!”

Scam artists will also want to hoard as much personal data as possible. They’ll ask for email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers, full names, credit card numbers, and even Social Security numbers.

What do the survey results say about us?

This survey was created to see how much care we take when we look for the best deal. The results are from nine different countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain).

The first question enquires about online shopping habits, and how many of those who shop online plan to take advantage of the multiple Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Christmas sales. The results show that the end of November deals are globally recognized and a significant number of participants plan to browse the deals. Half of the online shoppers said they intend to find cheap holiday deals.

Have a look at the results.

“When shopping online, what do you pay attention to?”

The results of the survey show the parts of a deal that online shoppers pay the most attention to. The options for attention grabbing aspects range from the price and quality of a product, the trustworthiness of the retailer, the security rating of the website, delivery methods, and available payment methods.

French people in particular regard the security of a website to be of paramount importance, with 32.7% of survey participants coming to that conclusion. Spain comes in a close second behind France when it comes to website security, but the majority of survey takers prefer to focus on the price point above all. Payment methods come dead last among all locales surveyed, despite the anti-fraud measures of some payment services.

“Have you ever experienced a scam while shopping online?”

In every locale, the percentage of those who have been scammed online range from 18% to 37.9%. Of the nine countries, Poland had the highest score of 37.9%, closely beating the United States at 37%. The “safest” country is Germany, with only 18.4% of survey participants saying they’ve experienced an online scam.

The survey expanded on these results to see if having experienced an online scam in the past influenced people’s online behavior. Unfortunately, the results show that the security and trustworthiness of a website still isn’t a significant consideration when it comes to hunting for deals.

“What are you ready to reveal about yourself to get a gift from the retailer, a big discount, or a free service?”

Cybercriminals will use several different techniques to trick you into giving away your details. The tricks become easier to perform when they mirror legitimate services. In general, when a service or website asks many questions and asks you to input a significant amount of identifying data, it should be a warning sign.

The question in the survey lists the types of data the participant would be comfortable with giving up: full names, email addresses, card numbers, children’s names, physical addresses, phone numbers, job titles, and likes and dislikes. The survey results show that people from Canada, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain are willing to give away a significant amount of identifying information compared to the rest of the locales.

Spaniards and Britons in particular would reveal the most data about themselves. Americans are most willing to share their social security numbers, along with credit card details. Polish participants take the lead in giving away their children’s names and the Spaniards are number one in sharing their employer and workplace.

“Do you feel safe from hackers when you do your online shopping?”

The results are clear as day that people shopping online are certainly wary of hackers, with over 50% of survey participants not feeling safe from cybercriminals’ efforts. However, despite being scared of hackers, only 36% of the fearful participants paid attention to a website’s security. They instead placed their faith in the legitimacy and reputation of the retailer.

How can you stay safe this Black Friday?

Knowledge is key when it comes to combating scammers and cybercriminals. Once you recognize the signs of common scams, they’ll be easy to dodge. Remember that hackers are trying their hardest to get you to click on something you really shouldn’t. Whether it’s an email laden with supposed last-minute deals or a website popup that’s begging you to grab the deal before it’s too late, it’s safer to ignore them completely.

Cluing yourself into the scams isn’t the only way to protect yourself. A tech-savvy scammer can delve into an unprotected computer via an unsecure internet connection. That’s why it’s best to surf the net looking for deals with a VPN active. A service like NordVPN can keep your connection encrypted and hidden from prying eyes looking to steal sensitive data.


Charles Whitmore
Charles Whitmore Charles Whitmore
Charles is a content writer with a passion for online privacy and freedom of knowledge. A technophile with a weakness for full Smart Home integration – he believes everyone should strive to keep up-to-date with their cybersec.