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Broadband provider TalkTalk has urged consumers to take all necessary security precautions when shopping online over the Christmas period.

Alex Birtles, Head of External Communications at the firm, has reiterated the importance of protecting credit card details and other personal information when buying goods and services over the internet.

She said it is also important for web users to avoid dodgy websites, links and emails, and to protect their children from inappropriate content.

Ms Birtles highlighted a number of online shopping tips, which are designed to ensure consumers stay safe when using the internet this Christmas - and throughout the year.

These include visiting retailers' websites directly, checking websites' URLs before making any purchases, avoiding suspicious links, updating software regularly and completing transactions one at a time.

Ms Birtles also encouraged web users to open separate browsers when making purchases, check their bank accounts for any unusual activity, change their passwords regularly, and avoid making transactions over public Wi-Fi connections.

Finally, she warned consumers against downloading anything from the web unless they have up-to-date internet security - such as TalkTalk's SuperSafe Boost.

"SuperSafe Boost protects everything important on your PC and keeps you safe when you’re online," Ms Birtles stated.

"What’s more, TalkTalk homes can protect their whole family online with HomeSafe, our parental controls."

Ms Birtles explained that HomeSafe - which is available for free - is being used in over one million TalkTalk homes to protect all devices connected to the internet.

She said that, as well as using parental controls, adults should have conversations with their children about what they want to download and access on the internet.

Ms Birtles claimed that Internet Matters - co-founded by TalkTalk - is "a great resource" for parents to help keep their families safer online.

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