YspeopleExplore tab

Shop safely online with these simple rules

About Maxine

Ys editor-in-chief ... and campaigner of your causes.

If you have a problem that our Ys community should know about, or some heartwarming news that needs to be shared, I'm listening!

You can email me here.

Wondering what all the fuss is about with online shopping, but scared of being ripped off? Don't worry, we'll steer you right.

Online shopping is easy once you know how. Probably too easy ... just ask my bank balance.

When it comes down to it, there is nothing like the convenience of shopping online. It just ticks so many boxes.

Shop safely from the comfort of home by following these simple rules.

Shop safely from the comfort of home by following these simple rules. Picture: Shutterstock

Think about it: you can shop in your scruffiest attire, even naked, if you so desire; there's no traffic, kids to worry about, packed parking bays or crowds to contend with (specially with Christmas around the corner); it's generally much cheaper than in-store; you can shop online 24/7;  there's no rude staff; the product range is endless; you can poke around and compare prices until you find what you want at the cheapest price; and purchases are delivered to your door.

For me, online shopping is a no-brainer for nearly everything, except shoes. And that's purely because there is so much more than sizing that comes into play when buying them.

With all of these benefits to online shopping, I'm surprised more Aussies aren't yet doing it.

But I do understand that many people, specially older Australians, are fearful of the technology. This includes my dear mum, who steadfastly refuses to pay her bills online and states security as her biggest concern. Try as I might, I just can't get her to budge.

So if you fall into this category, here are a few fail-safe rules (and a handy video) that should keep you -- and your money -- safe when shopping online:

  • Look for the padlock. First and foremost, every secure ecommerce site (such as our sister Aussie food-and-wine venture ), will have a padlock and the word ''secure'' in green in the address bar. The URL will also begin with https, rather than just http. That "s'' is your green flag to go, because it stands for secure. 
  • Do your research. Look for reviews that other shoppers have left on third-party consumer sites and forums. You are particularly looking to see whether purchased goods were delivered, how the company handles customer disputes and whether the goods received were as advertised. Reviews on a company's own site are a bit hit and miss, since you cannot be absolutely sure of their authenticity.
  • Browse smart. Use a secure computer and network to protect your money when shopping online. Public computers and networks are not secure. Keep your devices up to date by turning on “automatic updates''. This includes your web browser and third-party add-ons, which could warn you if you land on suspicious websites. Also, always have good anti-malware (“anti-malicious software”) installed to catch threats like viruses.
  • Contact details. Look for a legitimate postal address and phone number on the ecommerce site. Of course, this is easier if you are shopping on an Australian site, such as , which not only provides all that critical information, but also a .
  • Look for scams. You know that old saying, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is? Well that's not a bad rule to live by online. If the pricing or deal being offered is ridiculously cheaper than anywhere else, such as an iPhone8 for $300, it's safe to assume it's a con.
  • Payment methods. Beware of sites and apps that only accept money orders or wire transfers. Only shop on sites that accept secure payment methods, such as credit cards, Pin Payment and PayPal, as they likely give you buyer protection.  Also, look for security verification stamps from GoDaddy, DigiCert and VeriSign. 
  • Be app smart. The reputable eccommerce sites that offer the convenience of phone apps will usually promote them from their sites. It's best to stick with these. There are plenty of scam shopping apps in the Apple and Google Play stores, so buyer beware.

Kate gets scammed - MoneySmart Rookie


Banner 1
| Your rating
No ratings yet

Related stories

Embrace training to stay relevant in an ever-changing workplace.

How to stay relevant at work


Companies are moving toward automation over human skills. Here's what you need to do to stay relevant at work.

Money Work
5 months ago
(Ys Comment)
That desperation to ''know'' and be right can cause so much unnecessary conflict.

When 'knowing' is dangerous


Nothing starts more conflict than people ''knowing'' stuff.

Community Politics Philosophy
8 months ago
(Ys Comment)
Do you trust politicians? Picture: Shutterstock.

Why don’t we trust politicians?

Here are my top five reasons that politicians are not trusted -- and they all relate to behaviour.

Social Issues Politics Australia
8 months ago
(Ys Comment)
Who is going to make their country better for their children, if they don’t? Picture: Shutterstock.

The real refugee question

All three of the common arguments against refugees have ignorance at their root. But there is one question yet to be addressed.

Social Issues Politics Middle East Australia
8 months ago
(Ys Comment)
Lines of people wait to collect natural spring water for drinking during the Cape Town drought.

Water: a crisis in the making

Cape Town is about to run out of water -- and 11 other major cities are facing the same plight. Horrifying, isn't it?

Travel Environment Australia
9 months ago
(Ys Comment)
PM Malcolm Turnbull attends another military show of strength.

Why the obsession with war?

Why we must rethink our view of the military -- and care more for our returned soldiers.

Community Politics Australia
9 months ago
(Ys Comment)
Finding your mythical purpose.

Perhaps it's your 'fate' to read this post

Why it pays to create your own purpose ... and other philosophical musings.

Community Phhilosophy
9 months ago
(Ys Comment)
We have a beautiful country but is our national anthem accurate? (Image: Shutterstock).

Australia's national anthem a disappointment


As far as national anthems go, Advance Australia Fair fails to mean much to me. Here's why.

Culture History Australia
9 months ago
(Ys Comment)
Boofhead and Moralising.

F**k boofhead Barnaby and moralising Malcolm

The grubbiness of the Barnaby Joyce affair shows there is pain ahead for many, including the good voters of Australia.

Relationships Social Issues Politics Australia
9 months ago
(Ys Comment)
When it comes to condoms, what happened to the old adage, ''if it's not on, it's not on''?.

Let's talk about sex, Baby Boomers

We want to talk about safe sex ... and why so many of you aren't using condoms. Come join the conversation.

Relationships Community Health
10 months ago
(Ys Comment)

Message board

Derek, 5 months ago:
I am great
George, 5 months ago:
What's up Thomas?
George, 5 months ago:
Messages are now updated in real time on other browsers.
Thomas, 5 months ago:
Thomas, 6 months ago:
DJC, 6 months ago:
George, 6 months ago:
Message board active from June 2018

Have your say!

Your Great Australians

Trending stories
Blue Moraine Lake in Banff, Canada.

Some stunning Earth porn to brighten your day

A reminder of how...

(Travel) 10 months ago
When it comes to great bloggers you can connect with, this list has you covered.

20 mature bloggers worth following

Looking for Australian...

(Entertainment & Culture) Over 1 year ago
Suzuki's cute little Ignis SUV has a lot going for it.

Review: 2017 Suzuki Ignis GL and GLX

Japanese car maker Suzuki,...

(Pastimes) Over 1 year ago
They may be hideous, but geez, some toby jugs are valuable.

Is your toby jug worth a fortune?

Did you know that some of...

(Nostalgia) 5 months ago
Putting your phone away while eating with someone is basic etiquette (Image: Shutterstock).

We should all embrace basic etiquette

They are the social rules...

(Entertainment & Culture) 10 months ago
Weekly Poll
Photographic memories
It's 35 years since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in South Australia and Victoria claimed 75 lives and more than 2500 buildings.