This holiday season Canadians are expected to shop online in record numbers. Statistics Canada reports that the value of orders placed online reached $18.9 billion in 2012, a 24 percent hike from 2010 when the last comprehensive survey was made.

Internet security experts from software firm Trend Micro, are warning consumers to be alert and cautious during the holiday shopping season and to protect personal and financial data from being compromised.

Trend Micro's Director of Marketing, George McTaggart adds: "It is both fast and simple to prevent spam and malware from becoming the gifts that give nothing but grief. When shopping online, make sure you are buying through legitimate sites and companies."

On Monday, December 2, 2013, also referred to as Cyber Monday, online shoppers will be conducting millions of transactions. Trend Micro has 5 tips to make your shopping experience safer:

  1. Bookmark reliable online shopping sites. Relying on search engine results can lead you to malicious sites.
  2. Ignore suspicious offers via email. Three out of four spam attachments are malicious in nature. Spam offerings use discounts that may contain malicious links or file attachments that lead to a system infection.
  3. Verify unbelievable offers. Spam and online ads offering mind-boggling promos and discounts can lead to web threats.
  4. Double-check payment site URLs. Phishers trick users into giving out personal information via spoofed pages.  Be careful - two of the most commonly phished sites are eBay and Paypal.
  5. After you have made your purchase, check your billing statements to monitor transactions. Immediately report any discrepancies to your bank.
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