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Cybersecurity Digital Fraud

Four safety tips for online shopping during the holidays

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Safety tips for online shopping these holidays

With the holiday season fast approaching, it is important that consumers safeguard their personal information when shopping online.

It is predicted that Australians will spend a record of $4 billion in online shopping leading up to Christmas. During this period, personal data like addresses and credit card details are sent to shopping websites for easy transaction. This creates a big risk of having your personal data breached and stolen by hackers.

So if you plan on going online shopping this holiday, it is recommended that you follow these tips from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to protect your data online:

Value your personal information – Your personal information is valuable and should be protected. It is best to use a “guest” profile to complete your purchase instead of signing up for a loyalty program or creating an online account. You can also leave data fields blank to limit the amount of personal information a site collects and stores.

Check who you are buying from – Play it safe by shopping from reputable brands and cross-checking information. Don’t forget to read credible reviews from other customers and check for information on warranties, refunds and complaints handling before making a purchase. If it looks suspicious, don’t risk it.

Be smart about connected devices – While smart devices can be convenient, they can also collect and share your personal information. It will help a lot if you do your research on the product’s security and privacy credentials before buying. Reading the privacy policy will help you understand how a device operates and whether you are comfortable with its data practices. Look for trusted reviews or guides like eSafety’s Gift Guide to help you decide which device is right for you. If you do buy a smart device, use a strong password, turn on automatic software updates and adjust settings to reduce the amount of personal information collected.

Remember the online security basics – Malicious and criminal attacks are the leading cause of data breaches involving personal information. You can protect yourself from common cyber incidents by thinking before you click on links in emails and text messages, using strong and unique passwords or passphrases, and only shopping with secure websites – look for a URL starting with ‘HTTPS’ and a closed padlock symbol.

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