With Black Friday sales just gone and Christmas fast approaching, it’s a timely reminder for Australians shopping online to take extra care as the nasty scammers will be out in force.
With eight out of ten Australians now shopping online, it’s a convenient and low-stress way to avoid the crowds and Christmas shopping centre madness. However, you do need to navigate an increasingly dangerous cyber security minefield.
We’ve put together our top Online Shopping Fraud Prevention Tips to minimise the chances of your Christmas being spoiled by an online scam.
1. Is the Website Secure?
Examine the URL of the website you plan to purchase from. Is the website URL of the e-commerce store a secure HTTPS URL or an HTTP URL?
HTTPS means any information you enter into the website such as a user name, password and credit card details will be encrypted and protected from interception or eavesdropping by malicious parties.
2. Is the site reliable?
There are numerous ways to identify whether a website is reliable or possibly a scam:
- If you are shopping from an unknown store, check the ‘Contact’ page details to confirm whether the address, phone number etc., are real or fake.
- Does this site receive positive Google reviews, or have others you know purchased from this company?
- Look out for other red flags such as bad grammar and spelling errors
- Does the website URL match the company name, or does it look suspicious?
3. Be wary of email scams
- Never click on links in emails. Instead, enter the site by entering their URL into your browser. Don’t fall for a clever fake site pretending to be a genuine store.
- Avoid opening attachment offers in an email. The offer should always be a link within an email, not an attachment.
Read more about email scams.
4. Never use a debit card
Purchase online with a credit card, or ideally through a secure third party option like PayPal. Using a service like PayPal also prevents ‘e-skimming’ – a virus that infects e-commerce websites that skims credit card details at checkout.
5. Monitor your Credit Cards and Bank Accounts
- Keep a close eye on your accounts so you can quickly identify potential fraudulent transactions.
6. Be wary of ‘Too Good to be True’ Deals
- Do not click on ads, popups, surveys or offers that sound too good to be true. Trust your instinct!
- Be very wary of gift card scams. Gift card scams are skyrocketing, so only purchase gift cards from trusted stores.
7. Don’t Re-use Passwords
- Always create unique and hard-to-break passwords when you set up new accounts.
8. Do Not Shop over Wi-Fi
- Only shop using a secure, trusted network. There is now way to tell if a WiFi network is secure, or who is ‘listening’.
Do not let the bad guys spoil your Christmas – follow our online shopping fraud prevention tips to avoid being scammed.