Stay safe when shopping online

by | Oct 21, 2022

Online shopping is not even the new normal – it’s just the normal. The past few years of the Covid pandemic has further increased consumer online spending to the degree whereby consumer behaviour has radically shifted. That means it pays to heed a few tips and warnings to ensure you’re not open to scammers or fraudsters. Forewarned is forearmed!!

Consumer Protection, a consumer safety and advisory body run through the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment has a number of extremely useful guides to make sure you keep yourself and your money safe when shopping online. Here is one of them:

“Top tips to shop safely online

Online shopping means you’re only a few clicks away from making a purchase. It can also mean you’re just a few clicks away from being targeted by a scam.

Set yourself up for safer shopping

Keep software and anti-virus protection up to date

Up-to-date systems are less likely to be taken advantage of by scammers.

Keep up to date with your updates(external link)  — CERT NZ

Use strong, unique passwords

A combination of upper case, lower case, numbers and special characters is best. Don’t use personal information in passwords. Many people use the same password for all accounts, or a few different ones over and over. If an attacker gets one of your passwords, it’s likely they may have access to any other accounts that share it. 

Check your bank statements or account activity

It’s good to keep an eye on your bank or credit card statements for unusual activity. If you think you’ve been scammed by a fake website and can’t contact the business, report it to CERT NZ.

Report an issue(external link)  — CERT NZ

It’s important to be suspicious because scammers have ways of making their offers seem real. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Learn to see the tell-tale signs of scams.

Identify a scam

Privacy issues

When you browse online, retailers can collect personal information without you knowing by using cookies. This can happen even if you don’t buy anything. The website’s privacy policy should tell you what information might be stored and why. 

Data and privacy

Protecting your privacy online(external link)  — CERT NZ

Pause before you pay

To shop safely online you need to know the seller is who they say they are, and can keep your personal and credit card details secure.

Take a moment. Ask yourself:

Does the website look genuine?

Bad spelling and grammar, or a URL that doesn’t seem to match what‘s being sold, can indicate a website is not genuine, e.g., if was selling high heeled shoes. Stop and do some research if a website you want to shop through seems suspicious.

Is the site secure?

Make sure any website asking for your information has a padlock symbol next to the URL in your browser. This means the connection is encrypted and no one else can copy the information you provide.

The website address should start with ‘https’, not ‘http’. Https means the site has an SSL certificate, a protocol to keep data secure as it is passed from your browser to the website’s server. Don’t share information through sites with an address beginning ‘http’.

It is a trusted payment system?

Use trusted payment systems, like PayPal. Avoid supplying payment details in an email.

What do customer reviews say?

If you’re using a website you haven’t used before, look for reviews to see if they have any negative feedback. Feedback might not always be genuine, but looking through customer reviews can give you a sense of whether an online store is the real thing and will deliver what you pay for.”

To consult the whole resource – go here


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