Our Corporate Risk and Security Manager Jason Moffat offers some timely advice for the ever increasing number of shoppers buying online for Christmas.
The decorations have been in shops for weeks now, but I’d hazard a guess very few of us have actually completed our Christmas Shopping. To be honest, it’s hard to find the time, and that’s why more and more Australians are swapping the trolley for the laptop to fill the Christmas stockings.
Online shopping is an easy and convenient way to avoid the crowds, but it can also raise a number of security issues which we as consumers should be aware of. Here are some handy tips to help you avoid waking up to a financial hangover and a lump of coal on Christmas morning.
- Firstly, make sure you’re comfortable with the look and feel of the site before you commit to make a purchase – trust your first instinct. You wouldn't hand over your credit-card or banking details in a shop that gave you an uneasy feeling, so the same should apply online. A good sign is if the site features a padlock appears when you click on the left hand side of the internet address bar, or if the site address begins with “https” rather than just “http”.
- Never give out your credit card or banking details in a chat-room or on any other instant-messaging platform. If you’re asked to provide personal financial details in this way, discontinue the conversation immediately.
- If buying online, make sure you confirm the time and place your goods will be delivered. That will allow you to know if things have gone astray.
- Avoid using public computers to make online purchases and try not to be seduced by unsolicited emails promoting fantastic offers and value. These offers are usually too good to be true and these emails can be designed to contain viruses.
- Also, it helps to regularly check your statements at this time of year. This is a good tip for a number of reasons, as Christmas Shopping can quickly get out of hand, but it also allows you to pick up on any suspicious activity on your accounts. You can easily track your accounts with SMS and Email Alerts, and can view statements anytime through Internet banking.
- The Greater as well as the Customer Owned Banking Association also recommend using Stay Smart Online to ensure any purchase you make is safe and secure. Stay Smart Online is a Federal Government initiative providing Australian Internet users with simple steps they can take to protect their personal and financial information online. For further info visit www.staysmartonline.gov.au
Taking the right steps to stay secure when shopping online is easy, and should be something we are aware of all year round.
Enjoy your online shopping and have a great Christmas!