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Keep safe while shopping online with these tips

16 Nov 2015

MasterCard is urging Kiwis to up their game when it comes to protecting ourselves while shopping online.

Peter Chisnall, MasterCard New Zealand country manager, says scams and fraud are evolving with the changing consumer habits and their use of technology and says Kiwis need to remain vigilent about where they’re sharing their personal information when shopping online.

“People need to know they are giving their details to a legitimate organisation or individual and what the information is being used for. If in doubt – it is safest to double check and not give away any personal information,” Chisnall says.

As part of Fraud Awareness Week, which is run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Consumer Protection team and kicked off yesterday, MasterCard has offered up a range of tips to promote safer shopping online. 

- Guard your privacy and do not disclose personal information unless you know who is collecting it and how it is being used. Some websites sell customer information to third parties, so check the small print and opt out of sharing your information if you don’t want other people to use it.

- When you purchase goods online a secure browser will encrypt the personal information that you send over the Internet. Ensure that the URL begins with https and the little lock symbol appears which will help ensure your transaction is more secure.

- Ensure you have antivirus software loaded on all your devices, including your PC, tablet and smartphone and regularly download security updates. Most of us have updated software for our computers but rarely do so for our smart devices.

- Making purchases using a credit or debit card is often safer as liability for unauthorised charges is limited. As a customer, it’s your responsibility to inform your financial institution if you become aware of or see an unauthorised transaction on your card, or if your card is lost and stolen.

 - Many financial providers also put an extra level of security on online purchases which protects the cardholder’s confidential information. This is usually done by submitting an additional password known only to the cardholder. It provides enhanced protection against the risk of credit or debit account numbers being accessed by fraudsters in cyber space, taking online security to a whole new level.

- It is important to keep records of transactions and payments online. Remember to check the payment details before submitting the final payment; check the returns policy and data protection cover. Finally, print out a copy of the transaction, get a copy emailed directly to you, and make sure that the amount matches on your statement at the end of the month.

- It’s not difficult to set up a page on the Internet, so the onus is on you to do some background research on the retailer you are buying from, especially if they are not a familiar brand name or you have not come across their website before.

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