Over the past couple of years, Aussies have relied more and more on digital and e-commerce platforms to get the must-haves and the just-have-to-haves. This shift has driven significant growth in the e-commerce sector and while many businesses have felt its positive impacts, it has given rise to several concerning safety implications for those shopping online.
Being an online marketplace, Gimmie strongly champions and protects our customers. We want you to be able to shop with confidence and get the big buys you need with little concern about your security.
Here are the most common types of scams encountered online:
Originally the choice of those who sought to sully the name and generosity of ‘Nigerian Princes’ in the 90s, phishing has become far more sophisticated nowadays and can be very difficult to detect.
Frequently targeting people through direct messages from seemingly legitimate senders, phishing scams can take the form of an email from your bank, your employer, a government organisation, or a familiar brand. Most often, this scam will try to get you to give up your personal or sensitive information.
Scientists say that it’s pretty likely that there’s a number of people in the world that look just like you – your doppelgangers. Identity thieves are your dupe-lgangers and will seek to steal your personal information then use it to take out loans, buy expensive items online, or sell your identity to overseas bidders on the dark web.
Malware isn’t a range of quality kitchen products you sell to your friends at a specially arranged party. No, it’s far worse. It’s the term to describe software that can be installed onto your device via a link you’ve clicked or a file you’ve opened or downloaded – so avoid clicking on links that feel a little off. This software can be used to access your credit card details, website logins (including your banking details) for a range of other nefarious and illegal behaviours.
Remember, if you receive an email from an unknown source, a business that you haven’t dealt with, or if the content of the email appears to be unusual, it’s wise to delete the email and block the sender.
Here are our tips to keep you safe when shopping online:
LOOK FOR THE LOCK
Does the site you’re shopping with have the SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed and displayed? If the URL doesn’t start with “HTTPS” or you can’t see the locked padlock icon (typically to the left of the URL), beware! Google Chrome is generally on the lookout for websites that are “not secure” and will flag this.
Always be wary of unexpected calls, emails, or texts and, if you don’t recognise the sender, don’t click any links. Scammers are experts at impersonating legitimate businesses, but there are certain things you can look for that might give them away, such as spelling and grammatical errors, incorrect facts, or informal greetings.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have many helpful resources for how to stay safe when shopping online. They also track current known scams, provide information on what to do if you think you’ve been scammed, and allow you to report a scam.
Even when you think you’ve done everything right, things can go wrong – but there’s still help available.
4 steps to follow if things go wrong shopping online:
STEP ONE: CONTACT YOUR BANK
Reach out to your financial institution immediately after you suspect you’ve had an interaction with a scammer. If you shared bank details and notice there has been fraudulent activity on your account, your bank may be able to intercept the transaction or close your account to prevent access to your funds. In some cases, your bank may even be able to reverse charges made using your card/s.
STEP TWO: GET SUPPORT
Being targeted by scammers can be distressing, and having your personal information stolen can leave you feeling victimised. In addition to the services available to help you recover your information, there are also support services to help you through the emotional impacts. Organisations such as Lifeline and beyondblue are available 24/7 to provide support to those who may be experiencing emotional distress.
STEP THREE: REPORT IT
You can help the fight in protecting others from falling victim to scammers. If a crime has occurred, you may need to contact your local authorities to lodge a formal complaint. Don’t forget to also report the scam to the ACCC, where it will be listed on their site so that others can be aware.
Scammers often target vulnerable people who may not know how to detect fraudulent activities. One of the best ways to avoid falling victim to this criminal activity is to educate yourself and your loved ones. It’s important to talk to your family and friends about your experience to help prevent them from being targeted by the same criminal activity.
STEP FOUR: SECURE YOUR DETAILS
If any of your online accounts are compromised, or if you believe you may have encountered a scammer, it’s a good idea to secure your logins. At times, we’re tempted to reuse the same password for things like our bank account, social media platforms, online business accounts and subscriptions – so if one has been compromised, they could all be at risk.
When choosing a password, stay away from the obvious ones like “password”. Though quite clever for its simplicity and recallability, it’s something easily guessed. Try to pick something that’s unique, doesn’t include any personal information or sequential combinations like “qwerty”. A good password is typically 15 characters or more and where possible, should include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Using a password manager and a random password generator can be an easy way to keep your information secure.
With all this information and by doing a few simple checks to stay alert online, you can enjoy shopping from the comfort of your home the way it should be – easy and carefree.
If you want to know more about how Gimmie helps you to stay safe when shopping with us, you can read more about it here.
Gimmie – It’s how we buy now.