Internet, telephone and mail order safety tips

Consumers find shopping over the telephone or online easy and convenient, but it can provide an opportunity for criminals to commit card fraud from a distance in a non face-to-face environment. The internet remains a safe way to carry out banking or shopping transactions as long as a number of common sense precautions are taken.

  1. Keep your PC protected. Ensure you have the latest operating system, firewall, browser and up-to-date anti-virus software.

  2. Only shop on secure sites. If you are going to shop online, limit yourself to secure websites. You can tell if a site is secure by the URL. A secure website starts with https:// instead of http://. Secure sites will also have the small padlock icon in the lower right corner of the screen.

  3. Do not open suspicious or unsolicited emails (spam). Scammers send phishing emails that can look very authentic, with some featuring the logo of your financial institution. Delete the email as soon as possible. Do not click on any links in a spam email or open any files attached to them.

  4. Check your statements. Keep all of your receipts, including print-offs from online transactions, and check them against your bank and card statements as soon as the statement arrives. If you find any transactions on your statement that you did not make, or do not recognise, contact your card issuer immediately.

  5. Always log out. If you plan to do any shopping online do not use a public computer.

Mail and telephone order

  1. Protect your card. Never leave your card or card details lying around, never let anyone else use your card, and never send retailers a copy of the front and back of your card.

  2. Know who you are dealing with. Do research on the retailer. Do you know their contact number (not just a mobile phone number) and their physical postal address (not just a post office PO box number)? If you are not familiar with a retailer, try to find out more about them before undertaking a transaction.

  3. Cold callers. Do not give your card number over the telephone to 'cold' callers under any circumstances. Only make telephone transactions when you have instigated the call and are familiar with the company.

  4. Never divulge your PIN. Be particularly wary of telephone calls asking you to share your PIN for security or login details, even if they are from a bank, building society or Police.

  5. Never email your financial details. Email is not a secure way of transmitting financial information like your bank details or credit card numbers.