As Ramadan draws to a close and families gear up for the Eid celebrations, the annual shopping spree has started to hit full throttle in Qatar. Whilst this is a good and happy time for all, consumers must also ensure that they are keeping their finances safe when shopping online.
This is the message passed on by the Financial Sector Information Risk Experts Committee (FS-IREC) through their National Awareness Campaign Project: Building a Financially Safe Nation. The committee is made up of experts from the financial sector with collaboration from the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR) in conjunction with leading banks in country.
Ordering goods online or over the phone has led to a huge number of fraud cases at a cost to the UK of over 220 million in 2011 alone. This type of fraud, termed ‘Card-Not-Present’ or CNP, happens when the details of person’s card are cloned and then use to illegally purchase goods or services.
Recent statics from Neilson indicated that half of all smartphone owners in the US, some 48 million, used a mobile shopping app in June 2012 and it is ever more evident that CNP purchases are going to grow, and therefore, so is financial fraud.
How can you protect yourself and your card information? Follow these useful tips below…
A) A secure website uses state of the art technology to protect your confidential financial information. You can identify such sites by the ‘https’ in the web address. An unsecured website address starts with “http” without “s” at the end.
B) Don’t let sites keep your credit card information on file.
C) Make sure there is a tiny closed padlock in the address bar, or on the lower right corner of the window. However this only signifies a secure communication channel, not necessarily a legitimate website.
2 Do Your Research Before Placing An Order
A) Always buy from reputable stores and resellers. Reliable companies should advertise their physical business address and at least one phone number, either for customer service or for ordering products. Call the phone number and ask questions to determine if the business is legitimate.
B) Look out for anything that looks unfamiliar, unprofessional, or out of place. If uncertain, order over the phone instead; Site spoofing or websites that appear professionally designed and legitimate but are instead designed with the purpose of collecting sensitive information from unsuspecting visitors.
C) Always check the amount before placing the order.
D) Never respond to or open internet links or attachments in unsolicited emails.
3 Online Payment and Shopping Passwords
A) Always keep your password safe, don’t leave it in a file on your computer or in a sticky note on your monitor.
B) When registering a memorable name, avoid using your mother’s maiden name or children’s names; use an alternative which cannot be easily guessed by fraudsters.
C) Use a strong password of at least eight characters, with a combination of numbers, letters, and punctuation symbols.
D) Don’t use the same password for banking that you use for other online accounts and remember to change your password periodically.
4 Secure Your Computer
A Keeping your system and web browser software up to date:
Make sure you install all the latest updates for your system and internet web browser software; this will ensure that these settings are safeguarded and performing as well as possible. Always use your personal computer for online shopping rather than a public computer. Make sure that you logout from the shopping website.
B Install security software and keep it up to date (firewall, antivirus, anti-spyware software) Perform regular scans of your computer to help protect you from threats such as viruses, spyware, spam and generally safeguard your personal information. A number of different providers produce complete security software packages. Review all packages available in assessing which security software is best for you.
Print out or make a note of the seller’s identification, the item description and the time, date and price you paid or bid on the item. Print and save copies of your order confirmation screen and all email communications.
Regularly check statements for any transactions that look suspicious. If found, report it immediately to your bank.
You can also request that your bank send SMS confirmation of online transactions. This will provide you with an early warning of any fraudulent activity.