Shopping Safely On The Net

More than half the Australian population has access to the Internet. Every day, more users are taking advantage of the convenience of shopping online from the comfort of their own home. Purchases might include a one-off hard to find book or some electronic gizmo, to the weekly household supermarket shopping.

Internet shopping is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Exercise caution when using these services. As in the real world, cyber world companies may try and rip you off if you're not careful!

Why does it happen?

The main risks involved with shopping online are:

  • Personal information and security
    • This may be intercepted and used for fraudulent activity
  • Credit Card
    Shopping online with you credit card may involve your card details being:
    • intercepted as it passes through various computer links
    • sent in un-encrypted emails
    • stored on insecure computers
  • Cyberspace companies
    Companies on the Internet may appear to be bigger or more credible than they really are. This means you risk:
    • dealing with bogus companies
    • buying products that are misrepresented or of inferior quality
    • payment of hidden fees, charges or duties

What can you do?

Here's a checklist of what you can do to minimise the risk becoming a victim of Internet fraud.

Computer Security

  • check that you are using a secure browser.
    Version 4 browsers and later use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption.
  • install and update virus protection and firewall programs.
    These programs help prevent unauthorised access to the information on your computer.
  • check that the padlock or key is unbroken.
    This is on the bottom line of your browser.
  • check for attachments to the keyboard connection cable.
    Some attached devices can record every keystroke, including your passwords!
  • check for any unidentified software on the computer.
    Some software programs are capable of recording all keyboard activity.

Shopping online

  • research companies you deal with before sending any payments
  • identify delivery and return policies, including warranty details
  • keep a written record of your purchases and check these against your credit card statement

Internet Banking

  • change your internet banking passwords regularly
  • notify your bank immediately of any unauthorised transaction

Email security

  • use an email encryption system such as Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) or Verisign
    This ensures that if your email is intercepted it is unreadable except by the person it is intended for.

Did you know
when you telephone your credit card details through to companies that are online, they may record them on their potentially insecure computers?

Download the Shopping Online Brochure.