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Online shopping

How to be secure when you shop online

Page reading time: 3 minutes

Online shopping can be a convenient way to buy the things you want. Get the most out of internet shopping by staying safe online. 

How to protect yourself online

Not sure if you should trust a website with your personal information? Here are some things to look out for. 

Check the website

Before you enter personal or payment details online, do some checks. If you haven't heard of the business, read independent reviews that aren't on the seller's website. 

Read more about product and service scams and how to check websites.

Keep your details safe

Password-protect all your devices and make sure they have the latest updates installed.

For tips on creating a strong password, see the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).

If you're using a public Wi-Fi network, don't send or receive sensitive information — for example, don't log in to your online banking or use your credit or debit card.

Only use an official company app from the Apple Store or Google Play store. 

Use secure payments

Avoid saving payment information to an online shopping account.

Pay for your items using PayPal, PayID, PayTo or a credit card. These are more secure ways to pay and offer another level of protection if something goes wrong.

Never use direct bank deposits, money transfers, or digital currencies like Bitcoin. It's rare to recover money sent this way.

Check your bank statements

If you shop online, check your credit or debit card and bank statements regularly. Make sure you've been charged the right amount.

If you see something you don't recognise, this could be a sign that a scammer has your personal details. To find out the signs of a scam and how to report one, see banking and credit scams.

What to look out for when you shop online

Follow these steps when you shop online.

Find out if the seller is overseas

If the seller is not in Australia, you may not have the same consumer rights. You might also find it hard to contact them for a repair, replacement or refund. For more information, see the ACCC website.

An overseas seller might also charge you an international transaction fee. Also make sure to check if you will be charged an international transaction fee by your credit or debit card provider.

Avoid being charged two fees: check if your credit or debit card provider charges a fee for overseas transactions.

Record your online purchases

Keep a record of your online purchases, including photos and descriptions of the items. In particular:

Know your rights as a buyer

Read the terms and conditions carefully, including:

Take care with buy now pay later

Buy now pay later service, like Afterpay, Humm or zipPay, let you pay for something in instalments. You might pay every fortnight, instead of paying the full amount upfront.

You don't pay interest on the purchase. Instead you’re charged fees. It’s easy to overspend or lose track of how much you owe. So make sure you can afford the repayments.

Find out about buy now pay later services.

What to do if something goes wrong

Sometimes, even when you're careful, things can go wrong:

Follow these steps to get a refund or exchange.

1. Know your rights

Visit the ACCC's page to find out about your rights as a customer.

2. Contact the seller

Check the seller's website for details on how to contact them or make a complaint. It may have been a mistake — if so, explain the issue to them and suggest how they can fix it.

3. Contact consumer affairs in your state

If you can't sort things out with the seller, contact the consumer affairs office in your state. They may be able to help you sort things out with the seller. You can also complain to the ACCC about the business. 

4. Call your bank

If you used your credit or debit card to shop online but didn't get what you paid for, contact your bank. They may be able to give you a chargeback.

If you used a PayPal account, follow PayPal's dispute resolution process.

If you think you've been scammed report it to Scamwatch.