Online shopping is convenient and the preferred way to shop for a lot of Australians. But it comes with a risk.
Cybercriminals often target online shoppers to steal their money or their personal details. They do this through a variety of methods including selling products that don’t exist, asking for personal and payment information they don’t need, and installing malicious software (“malware”) on your device. It is important to be alert and be secure when you are shopping online.
Once a cybercriminal has your financial details and received your money you are unlikely to get your money back. Not only will you be disappointed your goods never arrived, you will also have lost the money you paid for the goods.
There are many things to think about when using personal devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, computers and laptops) for online shopping. Follow our security tips to make sure your online shopping experience is secure.
If things go wrong
If you think you’ve been scammed, there is help available. Check out our advice for what to do if you find yourself a victim of a scam.
Online shopping scams can have serious effects
Online shopping scams don’t discriminate. They can affect individuals of any age and businesses of all sizes
How to shop online securely
Make sure your device is up to date
It is important to keep the devices you online shop with up to date.
Turn on automatic updates for operating systems and applications (such as web browsers). Updates introduce new functionality and resolve security problems. New versions of operating systems and applications usually have new security features.
Operating systems and applications that aren't supported means you can't update them. If your operating system is no longer supported, you should think about buying a newer device or service.
You should always use applications from companies that you know and trust. Stick to well-known brands or applications. Cross-check information on their website. Be careful with applications that ask you for lots of details, because cybercriminals can use that information to impersonate you.
Back up your important files
Back up important files to a USB stick, memory card, external hard drive or online storage service. This will mean that if you have a problem with your device you will still have access to your important files.
It is essential that the storage device is removed or disconnected once the backup is complete. If there is a cyber security incident or attack impacting your device and you have not disconnected your storage device, this could impact the files you have backed up.
Use different passphrases for your high risk accounts
Use different passphrases for your high risk accounts, especially for those that store personal or financial information. It is important that the email address you use for accounts has a passphrase that you don't use elsewhere.
Some accounts use many steps to log you in. They might ask you to put in a number sent via SMS to your mobile phone plus your username and passphrase. This is multi-factor authentication. It means your information is much more secure.
Read through our advice to make sure your online shopping experience is secure and enjoyable.