How Safe Is Online Shopping?

July 25, 2012, 3:43 pmYahoo!7

How can we combat virtual credit card snatchers and buy online with peace of mind.


Buying online can still be a little scary. Typing out your precious credit card numbers and sending it off into cyberspace. Who knows what evil hackers are out there ready to catch your personal digits. Shops on the 'net are popping up all over the place and often the best deals around can be found online. But how can we combat virtual credit card snatchers and buy online with peace of mind.

We talked to two eBay and PayPal experts to find out the secrets to safe shopping on the internet:

If I am buying an online purchase, is it safe for me to provide my credit card online?

Response from eBay Trust & Safety Director Alastair MacGibbon:

Recent research commissioned by eBay revealed just over half of Australian online shoppers surveyed said they worry about their personal and financial details being stolen. My recommendation is to use a secure payment method such as PayPal, as it allows buyers to shop online without having to share their bank account or credit card details with anyone.

We know PayPal is the safest way to pay on eBay. PayPal is not only secure and easy but if you pay via PayPal on eBay.com.au and the item doesn't arrive, or it is significantly not as described, you can be covered up to $3,000 through PayPal Buyer Protection.

Are there alternatives to paying for online purchases with credit cards?

Response from PayPal Australia Managing Director Andrew Pipolo:

PayPal acts like a virtual wallet. When shopping online with PayPal, you can chose to fund your purchases via a range of payment options. These include credit/debit card, your bank account or your stored PayPal balance (just like cash).

There are significant benefits to using PayPal as an intermediary. Firstly, no one will ever see your credit card or bank account number. This drastically reduces the risk of fraud and identity theft. PayPal ensures your privacy with behind-the-scenes countermeasures so you can safely send money online.

Plus, PayPal delivers one of the most powerful online risk management systems in the world. It's a leader in privacy and identity protection and features an industry-leading loss rate of less than 0.27%.

If I sell an item through Ebay, how am I protected from fraudsters and false credit cards?

Response from PayPal Australia Managing Director Andrew Pipolo:

PayPal will soon be the first online payment method that offers protection for Australian eBay sellers. From 27 March 2008 PayPal has announced it will offer Seller Protection for all Australian eBay sellers, to protect sellers in the unlikely event an eBay purchase is funded with a stolen credit card/debit card or bank account. The protection can also cover sellers if a buyer claims an eBay item was not received.

For the first time, Australian eBay sellers can have confidence they can be protected against losses they are not responsible for.

In addition to PayPal Seller Protection, eBay uses state-of-the-art fraud prevention to stop cyber crime. This includes a team of specialists who monitor transactions 24/7.

What are your top tips in combating online purchase fraud and how can I avoid becoming a victim?

Response from eBay Trust & Safety Director Alastair MacGibbon:

Four key things that Australians should remember when shopping on eBay.com.au are:

1. Pay smart! Use PayPal.com.au, an online payment service that keeps your account information hidden. PayPal can also cover you for purchases of up to $3,000 where an item is not received or is significantly not as described

2. Get to know your seller: Review the seller's Feedback Rating - this is their online reputation. Check pictures and descriptions closely and ask the seller a question if you need more information

3. Do NOT use Western Union, MoneyGram or similar cash and instant wire transfer systems for online purchases

4. Follow eBay's Safe Trading Guidelines - eBay's online Security Centre is packed with useful safe shopping tips and information

What are the most common types of online fraud?

Response from eBay Trust & Safety Director Alastair MacGibbon:

There is no definitive source regarding online fraud, however, one of the most prevalent issues faced by internet users is phishing. An independent survey, commissioned by eBay.com.au released late last year, revealed that 93% of Australian Internet users don't know what phishing is. Despite 30% of Internet users saying they know what it is, only 7% overall correctly understood the meaning of phishing.

Phishing is the act of tricking someone into supplying personal details to someone they shouldn't. While similar scams can come in the post or over the phone, today many come via email and usually claim to be from a trusted source such as a bank, eBay or online payments leader PayPal. Many phishing attempts include luring unsuspecting online shoppers to transact on fake or spoof websites with the aim of capturing personal or financial information.

As Australia's leading online marketplace, eBay is working around the clock to ensure its five million Australian members are armed with the right tools and information to help protect themselves against phishing attacks. Most phishing scams can be avoided if people know what to look for. eBay suggests Internet users should follow a few simple steps to avoid becoming a victim of phishing:

1. Never reply to emails that ask for personal information

2. Update your browser to the most recent version - it will have the latest built-in fraud prevention tools.

3. Update your anti-virus software.

4. Choose a strong password and change it regularly.

5. Download the eBay Toolbar (it will tell you when you are on a legitimate eBay website and when you need to exercise caution)

Can you give us your prediction about the next 'big thing' in combating online fraud?

Response from eBay Trust & Safety Director Alastair MacGibbon:

In my view, criminals will continue to adapt to the latest defences in their attempt to steal or gain access to consumer information, especially financial data. So our challenge is to always stay one step ahead. There is strong evidence that criminals will exploit IT security holes and increasingly automate attacks. To protect yourself, ensure you follow these precautions:

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