Online shopping is an easy, convenient and often cost-effective way to shop.
However, it's important to be aware of the risks and to take steps to safeguard your personal and financial information to prevent fraud.
Taking basic precautions to protect your personal information through the use of reputable anti-virus products, updating your computer's operating system and not clicking on links contained in unsolicited emails will reduce the chance of your information being compromised.
The Stay Smart Online website is committed to helping inform Australians on how to maximise the benefits of online shopping and minimise the risks and has released some easy tips to follow to ensure your shopping experience is memorable for all the right reasons:
Tips to safe online shopping
- Be wary if the website looks suspicious or unprofessional or makes unrealistic promises. Bargains which look too good to be true often are.
Know what you are buying. Read the description of the product carefully-check the size, colour, value and safety of the product.
- Read all the fine print. This includes refund and complaints handling policies.
Check the currency, postage and handling and other charges - there may be extra charges you aren't aware of. Only pay via a secure web page which has a valid digital certificate.
- Use a secure payment method such as PayPal, BPay, or your credit card. Avoid money transfers and direct debit, as these can be open to abuse. Never send your bank or credit card details via email.
- Always print and keep a copy of the transaction. Keep records of any emails to and from the seller. Also check your debit and credit card statements regularly and ensure you refer immediately any unauthorised activity to your financial institution.
- If buying through an auction website (ie: eBay), always conduct transactions within the website. Avoid private contact or payment directly with buyers or sellers - scammers will often use this ploy to offer a better deal.
- Always use web browser protection, install and run security software with real-time live updates and update your operating system