Being safe and secure when shopping online

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Man Payment Online With Credit Card
Guest Post: Rohan Buettel, Assistant Secretary of the Australian Government’s Department of Communications

The convenience of online shopping has made buying and selling on the internet increasingly appealing. With the click of a button, you can browse items, conduct financial transactions, exchange goods and coordinate shipping.

While we enjoy the benefits of shopping online, it is also important to watch out for any risks, especially when sharing personal and financial information. You need to know who you are providing your information to and be confident they will treat it securely and respectfully.

Stay Smart Online Week is a good time to remind ourselves of the simple steps we can take to protect our information when buying and selling online. The Australian Government initiative offers simple tips for buying and selling online.

Buying online:

  • Do your research and shop around
  • Check quality, warranty and return/refund and complaints policies
  • Check the buying and selling tips on the sites you are using
  • Keep your personal details private and secure
  • Always use a secure payment method
  • Never send bank or credit card details in an email
  • Never send wire transfers to anyone you don’t know and trust
  • Use strong passwords and locks, and change them regularly
  • Learn about the best way to create and store passwords
  • Contact your financial institution, selling platform, police and SCAMwatch if you think you’ve been scammed

Selling online:

  • Install security software from a verified provider and set it to update automatically
  • Secure your home and office Wi-Fi with encryption and a password
  • Develop clear policies for staff using your computer or network
  • Offer clear terms and conditions
  • Always use and offer a secure payment method
  • Avoid bank transfers and direct debits
  • When using a selling platform, make sure it is trusted and reliable
  • Back up your data regularly
  • Use strong passwords and locks, and change them regularly
  • Learn about the best way to create and store passwords
  • Beware of scams, including by fake suppliers and customers
  • Independently confirm that payment has been made before supplying goods

Next time you are shopping online, take a moment to consider who you are dealing with, what you are buying, be confident you will get what you have paid for, and ensure that your financial details are being dealt with safely.

For more tips, information and resources about smart online shopping, visit the Stay Smart Online website or ‘like’ Stay Smart Online on Facebook.

You can also subscribe to the free Stay Smart Online Alert Service to receive regular information about recent online threats and scams, and solutions to help manage risks.

Gumtree is a partner of the Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online initiative. Stay Smart Online Week will be held 2 to 6 June 2014. This year’s theme – ‘On the Go’ – reflects the importance of staying safe and secure online while using mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, which are used to stay connected for social networking, banking, shopping, and navigating the internet.


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