Change text size:   Increase font size   Reduce font size  |   Print page:   Print this page
  |   Contact us   
Standard fact sheet.
Large print fact sheet.

Safe online shopping tips 


Improve online shopping. Tell us your experiences. Take our online shopping survey.

Before you purchase anything online, follow these essential tips to protect yourself and be safe online.

Safeguard your personal details 

A reputable trader will never ask you for your bank account and password information. A scammer can use this information to fraudulently withdraw money from your bank account.

Top of page

Secure your password 

A secure password is very difficult for someone else to guess. Pick something that is not easy to associate with you, such as your birthday. To create a secure password it is better to choose a combination of numbers, letters and symbols rather than just numbers such as a postcode or birth date.

Never give out your passwords or record them in a way that someone might suspect they are passwords.

Top of page

Check the web page security 

Only fill in credit card details on a secure web page.

To know if a web page is secure look for the padlock symbol in the bottom right of the browser window, or at the top left in or near the address bar. A secure web page begins with https://.

Top of page

Pay by credit card or PayPal 

Paying by credit can provide extra protection when shopping online. If you have concerns because the goods are not received within the agreed time, or what you receive is not what was described, you can promptly contact your credit card provider and request a chargeback while the matter is investigated.

Services like PayPal offer a facility to pay for online transactions. If customers experience problems such as a non-delivery of goods they may be able to contact the service to seek a refund.

If a credit card provider or online payment service such as PayPal doesn’t satisfactorily resolve the problem, and the transaction was in Australia, you may contact the Financial Ombudsman Service on 1300 780 808.

Scammers often ask for payments via an international money transfer service or other ways which offer less protection for consumers.

Top of page

Print and keep transaction documents 

If you are shopping online from a computer or mobile device with access to a printer, print a copy of your order before you send it. You should also print and retain any acknowledgement email that is sent to you with information about your order.

You might need to refer to these records later if there is a problem, such as if the goods are not received, and you need to contact the trader, your credit card provider or an online payment service provider such as PayPal.

Top of page

Monitor children’s access to shopping sites 

Some companies market directly to children and include purchase options in game apps. Monitoring children's use of computers and mobile devices and their access to shopping sites can help you avoid bill shock due to unexpected purchases by children.

Top of page

Check your statement 

Check your credit card statement every month to be sure you have been charged correctly for purchases, and that you have not been charged for anything you didn’t buy.

If there is any charge that might be suspicious contact your credit card provider immediately, and request a chargeback while the matter is investigated.

Top of page

Keep your computer or mobile device secure 

Make sure the operating system, browser and anti virus software on your computer or mobile device are always kept up-to-date.

A computer or mobile device that is not secure is vulnerable to malicious software that could be installed without your knowledge and reveal your bank account or credit card details and password to a hacker. Be aware of this danger, and make sure password remembering is deactivated if you provide private information such as credit card details or passwords when using a publicly accessible computer or mobile device.

Allowing someone you don’t trust to use your computer or mobile device can also expose you to this risk.

Top of page

Get a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader so you can access PDF versions of our information.