Secure online shopping

With the explosive growth of the Internet, and e-commerce in particular, online criminals try to get you to buy things that look like the goods and services offered by legitimate e-commerce merchants. Here’s how to protect yourself while you are shopping online:

  • Check that the company is reputable – only buy from companies you know. If you are not sure, rather ask around to see whether anyone has ever heard of them. Always find a mailing address and phone number, preferably a landline, for the company.
  • Ensure the site is secure – Look for signs of security on the website. Symbols like an unbroken lock or key and a URL that begins with https:// means that no one but you and the merchant can view your payment information.
  • Keep a record of your transactions – Save and/or print the online confirmation of your orders.
  • Paying via email is not secure!  You should never send payment information such as your card and CVC number via email. Information that travels over the Internet as regular email is not fully protected from being read by outside unauthorised parties.
  • Keep your personal information private – Never tell the merchant your ATM or any other PIN. Your secret PIN should never be shared with anyone.
  • Register for MasterCard SecureCode or Verified by Visa – This is an added security feature provided by MasterCard and Visa that requires you to register a password with the card company.  This gives you an extra measure of security.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure about anything. If the company is legitimate, you shouldn't feel pressurised into making a decision, and the company will be happy to answer your queries. If it’s a scam, the more questions you ask, the more likely it is the fraudster will simply give up!

Important:  Never respond to unsolicited emails requesting your personal information. Always check your bank statements regularly and use your bank’s security features to ensure that you can bank – and shop – safely online!