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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Wallis-Smith

A Guide to Safer Online Shopping

Online shopping has become an integral part of our lives and there’s no question that it offers unparalleled convenience. With just a few clicks, we can order anything from groceries to gadgets and have them delivered to our doorstep.


But it also comes with its own set of challenges when it comes to ensuring the safety of our personal and financial information.

Safe Online Shopping. Sensible Spending. Budgeting. Money Coach Adelaide. Nutshell Money

There’s a lot of information circulating but let's distil that into sensible steps that you can action today – it could just be the thing that makes the difference.


Keep software updated

Maintain up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software on your devices. By regularly updating your operating system and browsers to patch vulnerabilities you can improve security. If you fall behind, this can leave devices more vulnerable to attacks.

Action: Check that all your devices, apps, and software use the most up-to-date versions, and switch on automatic update alerts.


Create strong passwords

Your passwords are the first line of defence against cyber threats. So, if you’ve used the same password for years, or if you’re guilty of using the same password across accounts it’s time to change them.


Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols and avoid easily guessable information, such as birthdays or names. At Nutshell Money, we advocate using a password manager to generate and store complex passwords securely.

Action: Consider using a password manager such as 1Password or LastPass.


Use two-factor authentication (2FA)

You might think 2FA is an unnecessary and time-consuming techy step. But trust me, it’s easy and provides an added layer of protection.


By providing a second piece of information, such as a one-time code, to get into your account, even if someone were to access your password, they’d need additional information (in the form of that one-time code) to get access.

Action: Access the security option in your website or app to turn on 2FA.


Be sceptical of email offers

It’s an obvious one but so important. Phishing scams often disguise themselves as irresistible deals or urgent notifications from reputable retailers. Avoid clicking on links in emails and messages. If you think an offer is genuine, go directly to the website to verify promotions.

Action: Avoid clicking on links, opening attachments, giving access to your computer or providing confidential information online unless you know the sender and are sure the request is legitimate. Contact the person or company directly to verify the communication is official – get the organisation’s contact number yourself.


Keep track of purchases

Maintain records of your online transactions, including order confirmations and receipts. This documentation can be crucial in case of any discrepancies or issues with your purchases.

At Nutshell Money we advocate regularly checking your accounts. By identifying unusual activity or transactions, you can catch fraudulent activity early and reducing potential damage.

Action: Make your money a priority and once a week, check your accounts and credit cards.


Check your credit report

You can obtain a copy of your credit report (available for free every 3 months) and look for unauthorised applications for credit.

Action: If you’re concerned about identity theft and fraud, consider placing a ban on your credit report. More information on setting a ban on your credit report is available here.


Be alert to warning signs

If you receive messages that your password has changed don’t click on any links in the message. Instead, try to log in to your accounts by typing the URL directly into your browser.


The unexpected loss of mobile phone service with your phone showing ‘Emergency Calls Only’ or ‘SOS Only’ is another early warning sign. Contact your provider from another phone to check your account.

Action: If you receive messages of unusual activity, contact your provider immediately.


Not all websites are created equal

For online shopping, stick to well-known, reputable platforms with a history of positive reviews. Major retailers and established e-commerce sites invest heavily in security measures to protect their customers.


Ensure that the website is secure by looking for "https://" in the URL and a padlock icon in the address bar. This indicates that your data is encrypted and transmitted securely.


Before making a purchase, read reviews. Genuine feedback can provide valuable insights into the product's quality, the reliability of the seller, and the overall shopping experience.


Legitimate online retailers usually don't need more than your shipping address and payment details. So don’t share unnecessary personal information and be wary of sites requesting excessive personal data.


Be mindful of public wi-fi

Avoid making online purchases when connected to public Wi-Fi networks as public networks may lack the security measures needed to protect your sensitive information. If you must shop on the go, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) for added security.


Overwhelmed?

Money management can feel stressful and overwhelming at the best of times – the heightened concerns around scams doesn’t make it any easier.


For more information about protecting your personal information, moneysmart.gov.au is a great resource with links to other bodies that can provide information or direct assistance.


But if you’ve had enough of the online world and are looking for a more personal approach - working with a money coach helps you get the results you want. Schedule a complimentary call using the link below, and we can discuss if Nutshell Money is the right fit for you.


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