Six tips to help you avoid being scammed this Christmas

HERITAGE Bank is urging shoppers to avoid being the victim of online scams this Christmas.

Heritage Bank CEO Peter Lock said it was important for consumers to take some simple security measures to enjoy the convenience and choice offered online while better understanding the risks.

"Online shopping can be a lot of fun and can help you easily compare and purchase products from the comfort of your own home. However, there is a risk of online fraud and scams particularly during heavy shopping periods like Christmas," Mr Lock said.

"To avoid this risk, it's important for consumers to be aware and have confidence in what they are actually buying, who they're buying it from and that their account details are being dealt with safely and securely."

Here are some handy tips from Heritage Bank to stay safe while shopping online this Christmas:

• Protect your privacy - When you shop online, only include relevant information and check privacy policy and security of sites you visit.

• Read all the fine print - This includes refund and complaints handling policies. Are there any hidden costs you'll be hit with at the check-out? There could be conversion costs (for international purchases) or hidden fees.

• Don't overshare on social media - Check your social media privacy settings. Do not post personal information that will put you at risk.

• Reject Scam callers - Financial institutions will never make unsolicited calls or emails asking for your personal banking details or card details, so always check with your provider.

• Be alert to 'romance scams' - Over the Christmas and New Year period in particular romance scams cause millions of dollars of loss to Australians.

• Don't send your bank or credit card details via email to pay for purchases - Only pay via a secure web page that has a valid digital certificate. It should have a padlock symbol and an address starting with https://

"If you notice any suspicious activity on your bank account, it's important to notify your financial institution," Mr Lock said.

"By taking precautions when shopping online and avoiding 'too good to be true' offers and schemes, consumers can avoid being the victims of scams over the festive season and beyond."

For more details about reporting and identifying scams and fraud, visit the SCAMWATCH and Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network websites.  

Topics:  christmas shopping

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