A third of Australians have fallen victim to an online scam or know someone who has, according to a study released by McAfee.

This is rather disconcerting as the 2012 Holiday Shopping study revealed more than 60 per cent of Australians who plan to shop online using their smartphone or tablet expect to use apps for shopping and/or banking during this Christmas.

While the vast majority of these users (82 per cent) indicate they are at least somewhat concerned their personal information could be stolen while using an app on their device, a greater proportion (84 per cent) would be willing to share some personal information in order to receive an offer that is of value to them.

For example, over half would be willing to provide their name (56 per cent) and age (55 per cent), nearly four in 10 would be willing to provide their mobile phone number and a quarter would be willing to provide their address.

“The number of Australians doing their Christmas shopping online is set to double this year and with that comes greater opportunity for cybercrooks looking to put a dampener on the silly season,” said Sean Duca, enterprise solutions architect at McAfee Asia Pacific.

“We have one of the highest rates of smartphone and tablet usage in the world so it’s up to companies like McAfee to ensure Aussies are aware of what to look out for and how to stay safe online.”

According to McAfee the most common way for 60 per cent of those surveyed to identify whether they are shopping on a safe online site is to look for the security icon.

“The holidays are an exciting time and millions of us will be going online to shop for the best deals, book travel and stay in contact with friends via social networks,” said Sean Duca. “The first step in ensuring your personal details stay safe and secure at this busy time is to check your security protection – on your mobile devices as well as your PC.”

“Another way Australians can reduce the risk of coming across a cyber-threat is to be wary of offers that are too good to be true. They shouldn’t click on links or open attachments from people they don’t know, and should go directly to websites by typing the site’s URL in the web address bar.”