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With Christmas just around the corner, now is a good time to be aware of fraud and the simple steps required to protect your personal information – especially when shopping online.
This week is Fraud Awareness Week, and MasterCard are encouraging New Zealanders looking to purchase goods online to protect themselves.
“Scams and fraud are evolving with changing consumer habits and their use of technology,” say Peter Chisnall, Country Manager for MasterCard New Zealand.
“As Kiwis are increasingly shopping online, they should remain vigilant about where they are sharing their personal information.
“People need to know they are giving their details to a legitimate organisation or individual and what the information is being used for.
“If in doubt, it is safest to double check and not give away any personal information.”
Peter says MasterCard customers unlucky enough to be affected can take comfort in the fact that products include Zero Liability Protection, meaning even if credit or debit card details are stolen, they are covered for any unauthorised purchases.
Anyone who thinks their credit or debit card details have been stolen or scammed should contact their bank immediately.
Fraud Awareness Week runs from 15 – 21 November, and is being run by the Ministry of Business and Innovation and Employment’s Consumer Protection team, in support of a global education campaign initiated by Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
MasterCard’s top tips to promote safer shopping online.
- • Guard your privacy and do not disclose personal information unless you know who is collecting it and how it is being used. Some websites sell their customer information to third parties, so check the small print and opt out of sharing your information if you don’t want other people to use it.
- • When you purchase goods online a secure browser will encrypt the personal information that you send over the Internet. Ensure that the URL begins with https and the little lock symbol appears which will help ensure your transaction is more secure.
- • Ensure you have anti-virus software loaded on all your devices, including your PC, tablet and smartphone and regularly download security updates. Most of us have updated software for our computers but rarely for our smart devices.
- • Making purchases using a credit or debit card is often safer as liability for unauthorised charges is limited. As a customer, it’s your responsibility to inform your financial institution if you become aware of or see an unauthorised transaction on your card, or if your card is lost and stolen. Unauthorised transactions are normally covered under MasterCard’s Zero Liability policy, with your bank reimbursing you for any unauthorised transaction.
- • Many financial providers also put an extra level of security on online purchases which protects the cardholder’s confidential information. This is usually done by submitting an additional password known only to the cardholder, for example with MasterCard SecureCode. It provides enhanced protection against the risk of credit or debit account numbers being accessed by fraudsters in cyber space, taking online security to a whole new level.
- • It is important to keep records of transactions and payments online. Remember to check the payment details before submitting the final payment; check the returns policy and data protection cover. Finally, print out a copy of the transaction, get a copy emailed directly to you, and make sure that the amount matches on your statement at the end of the month.
- • It’s not difficult to set up a page on the Internet, so the onus is on you to do some background research on the retailer you are buying from, especially if they are not a familiar brand name or you have not come across their website before.