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National Retail Federation/Shop.org, AVG Provide Online Safety Tips For Shoppers

Shop.org and AVG offer five tips for online shoppers this holiday season

Washington, November 16, 2009 " As holiday shoppers everywhere head online looking for good deals, global internet security software leader AVG and Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, are partnering on an initiative to promote safe online shopping this holiday season.

"Online shopping offers many benefits, including the ability to shop at anytime of the day or night that is convenient," said Beth Jordan, AVG vice president. "To help, we've developed a set of practical tips to help shoppers keep their personal information safe while they are saving time and getting great deals by shopping online."

"Just as we encourage people to be careful as they're shopping in a mall or crowded store, Americans should take appropriate steps to protect themselves while shopping online," said Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org. "Simple steps, like looking for the "secure site" padlock on your browser page when shopping, or making sure you're buying from a reputable company, can prevent potential headaches down the road."

Shop.org and AVG offer five tips for online shoppers this holiday season:

1. Look for the "S" for security. Make sure the sites you are shopping from are secure and have "https" in the URL. The "s" ensures security. When you are on a secure site, you will also see an icon for a locked padlock on your browser either on the address bar or on the bottom right corner. Additionally, use the Internet to research retailers not familiar to you. There are many sites such as Shopzilla.com, Pricegrabber.com and others that provide ratings of retailers.

2. Stay current on security software. This means making sure you have the latest virus protection software updates from your provider. It's important because the bad guys move around frequently. Security software companies are working to stay one step ahead of them. If you are updated, you are staying one step ahead, too.

3. Think before you link. Employ a URL scanning tool to ensure you're not clicking on links that lead to infected Web sites. The time to find out whether a page is bad is BEFORE you click. AVG LinkScanner does this. It's free, and it works with all other security and anti-virus offerings.

4. Keep your private information private. When shopping online, create a separate e-mail account that is just for shopping. Use a unique password, different from any other accounts you have. Your dedicated shopping e-mail account should be in no way affiliated with your personal, everyday e-mail account. Also, keep records of your online shopping " print confirmation pages and e-mail confirmations.

5. Mix up your passwords. Each shopping account, bank account, credit card account and e-mail account should have a unique password. Write them down and keep the information in a secure location. Unique passwords for each account make it tougher for a thief to steal your information.

AVG and Shop.org are teaming up to engage in a series of social media strategies aimed at spreading the word about finding the best bargains as well as tips about how to shop safely online. The groups hosted a virtual mommy and retail blogger roundtable kick-off and will participate in a "Twitter Party" in the days leading up to Cyber Monday, November 30, 2009.

AVG is a global security software maker protecting more than 80 million consumers and small businesses in 167 countries from the ever-growing presence of web threats, viruses, spam, cyber-scams and hackers on the Internet. AVG has nearly two decades of experience in combating cyber crime and one of the most advanced laboratories for detecting, pre-empting and combating Web-borne threats from around the world. Its free, downloadable software allows novice users to have basic anti-virus protection and then easily upgrade to greater levels of safety and defense when they are ready. AVG has nearly 6,000 resellers, partners and distributors globally, including Amazon.com, CNET, Cisco, Ingram Micro, Play.com, Wal-Mart and Yahoo!

Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, is the world's leading membership community for digital retail. Founded in 1996, Shop.org's 600 members include the 10 largest retailers in the U.S. and more than 60 percent of the Internet Retailer Top 100 E-Retailers. It's where the best retail minds come together to gain the insight, knowledge and intelligence to make smarter, more informed decisions in the evolving world of the Internet and multi-channel retailing. Shop.org programs and activities include benchmarking research, events and networking communities.

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