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Shop Safely Online this Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Here is some advice for all those shopping online on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Online shopping' relates to purchases made either on a computer or on a smart phone/tablet. You can shop online with or without full authentication. Using a Credit or Debit card is a safe method of payment in online shopping as long as you exercise the same care as in other shopping.
Before Placing an Order
- Carefully read the terms and conditions, including the small print. These terms and conditions should be available on the merchant's website.
- Check that the merchant's address details are available on the webpage and save or print them in case you need to return any items. If no address details are given, you should proceed with caution. Make a note of the URL address of the shop.
- Read what the merchant has to say about delivery costs, accepted currencies and applicable taxes.
When Making A Purchase
- Save or print the description and the terms and conditions which are displayed by the merchant and which you need to accept before you can place your order.
- Accept the payment by entering the number and expiry date of your card on the online form and follow the merchant's instructions. If the online store uses full authentication, you will then be transferred for instance to your online banking service for identification.
- Save or print the acknowledgement of your payment displayed by the merchant.
- Keep the saved or printed details in case they are needed later for checking or for comparison.
Common errors in online shopping include delivery of the wrong product or service, faulty/damaged product, and non-receipt of goods.
- If you have problems with a product or delivery, always first contact the store where you made the purchase. Preferably use e-mail so that you have a record of your correspondence.
- If you cannot resolve the matter with the merchant, contact your bank's customer service. They will give you further instructions, for example if you should file a report to the police.
- Save all the documents related to the purchase.
- Your first action is always to contact the merchant to resolve the issue.
- If you contend with your bank, attach a copy of your e-mail correspondence with the merchant.
- If you return faulty or damaged goods, always do so by registered mail. Keep the receipt with the tracking number, as you may need it later.
I am a victim of online fraud. What should I do?
- Report it to your local or national police.
- Report it to your bank, if you paid the product with a credit or debit card. You may have some rights to get your money back.
Better safe than sorry:
- Never send your card number, PIN or any other card information to anyone by e-mail.
- If you are not buying anything, don't submit your card details. There are for example games and fake lotteries online which sole purpose is to get your credit card information.
- Many e-merchant sites will ask to store your payment details. Think twice before deciding and make sure you understand the risks this might imply – such as the site becoming compromised by cybercriminals. Most well-known brands have a strong customer security policy.
- Buy from trusted sources. Use brands and shops that you are familiar with or have used before and check the ratings of individual sellers on sites such as Amazon or EBay. For Internet purchases, make sure you use the internet security protocol called 3D Secure – Verified by Visa/SecureCode/SafeKey. Ask your bank or your card issuer about it.
- Whenever possible, do your online shopping at sites that use full authentication (Verified by Visa / MasterCard Secure Code).
- If the website does not support full authentication, make sure the data transfer is appropriately protected. Check that there is an icon of an unbroken key or locked lock at the bottom of your browser window and that in the address bar the URL begins with https:// instead of http://.
- Don't send money to anyone you don't know. If someone approaches you online and asks for money, think whether you would give the same amount of money to an unknown person on the street.
- When purchasing something online from another person, don't send money upfront to the seller. If possible, reserve the right to receive the goods first.
- Use credit cards when purchasing things online. Most credit cards have a strong customer protection policy; if you don't get what you ordered, your bank can advise you in the refund process.
- Before providing your card details to pay for a continuous service over the internet (such as virus protection software), find out how you can stop that service and the recurring charges related to it.
- Always save all documents related to your online purchases. They may be needed to establish the terms and conditions of the sale or to prove that you have paid for the goods.
- Some online shops outside of Europe may request a copy of your card and passport by fax in order to ensure that the order is being placed by the actual cardholder. Never send your card details in an unencrypted e-mail. If you do not supply these details, the shop will probably not ship your order.
A few extra tips…
- Know your finances. When looking at your bank statement, you should be able to recognize every purchase made. Remember that it is also possible that a merchant has a different name on the outside of the shop than on the bank transaction. Report any strange activity to your bank.
- Be very cautious of attractive offers and information you may find online or by e-mail. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Be wary of unsolicited e-mails. Don't open attachments or click on links they might contain, even if they appear to come from a trusted merchant, as they might be part of a phishing scam.
Check out our new Ultimate Online Safety and Parental Control Guide 2020 for all your online safety needs.