With many Australians expected to shop online in the lead up to Christmas, staying safe and secure when using your credit card remains as important as ever.
Phishers, hackers, frauds and identity thieves – they’re all out there; but staying safe isn’t necessarily difficult.
Michael McKinnon, Security Advisor at AVG (AU/NZ), said: “The fastest and easiest way to score a great deal may be online – but shopping on your computer, tablet or smartphone also creates opportunities for cybercriminals to attack.
“Online holiday shopping is a prime time for hackers to re-route funds, steal personal information, and trick consumers into online scams. Before shoppers kick off the holiday season, we want to remind consumers to be smart and stay safe, and ensure their computers and mobile devices are properly protected with anti-virus software.”
If you plan to do your Christmas shopping online this year, remember that there are a number of precautions you can take too ensure you don’t fall victim. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. ‘S’ is for security
Look in the website address for URLs that begin with ‘https’ rather than ‘http’. The ‘s’ ensures you are using a secure site. You should also see an icon of a locked padlock on your browser, either in the bottom right corner or on the address bar itself.
2. Stick with the big names
Recognised stores are likely to have secure websites and a reputation that they don’t want to see damaged as the result of a scam. This is not to say smaller stores cannot be trusted, just be wary of offers and deals that are too far removed from the big retailers. Do you homework on sites you are suspicious of!
3. Make sure your security software is up to date
Anti-virus software is designed to look for dodgy things, so keeping your software up to date will ensure you’re one step ahead of the bad guys.
4. Don’t store your credit card information on the website
If your computer asks whether it should remember details automatically, make sure the answer is no.
5. Avoid shared computers and/or public wifi
Stealing information from public networks isn’t too difficult for scammers so make sure you’re on a secure network at home when sharing sensitive data such as financial information.
6. Check for a return policy
If your online purchase arrives looking completely different to how it did online, a return policy ensures you’re covered.
7. Use a smart password
Create a password that is unlikely to be guessed. It’s a good idea to use over ten characters with a mix of letters, numbers and other characters.