Online shopping in the time of COVID-19 - How to stay safe

Years from now, future generations will ask, just how did you make it through the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020?

We’ll reply with just two words. Online shopping.

##Australia proceeds to the checkout.

It’s understandable. In an era where the pandemic is impacting our world in ways we’ve never seen before, many of us are grasping for something familiar, routine, even.

And that’s punching the name of our favourite store in the search bar during the MasterChef ad breaks.

Now if online shopping was having a moment in the sun before COVID-19, (Australians spent more than $27.5 billion online in 2018) today it’s lying comfortably on a banana lounge covered in factor 50.

Retailers like JB Hi-Fi are reporting same-store sales growth of more than 11 per cent from March to April, up from 9 per cent in the previous quarter, as parents head online for home-schooling tech they desperately need.

Even when our times of social distancing are over, a third of people believe they’ll continue to shop the same brands they’ve loved online during COVID-191.

If that’s the case, we need to make sure we know how to shop online safely.

Especially when the Australian Cyber Security Centre receives one cybercrime report every ten minutes2.

According to Scamwatch, last year Australians lost over $4.2 million to online shopping scams. More than half of which was on popular online platforms such as Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace3.

Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to stay safe the next time you open up a tab on your device.

##6 ways you can stay safe shopping online.

1. Beware of fake sites and emails.

Tell-tale signs are a funky sender email address, low-res images and a not-so-subtle request for personal details.

2. Only shop on trusted sites.

Only trusted sites will direct you to the secure part of their website to enter your payment details, so remember to look for the padlock in your address bar.

3. Avoid bank transfers and other unusual methods of payment.

Remember, no retailer worth their salt is gonna ask you to pay via Bitcoin.

A Buy Now Pay Later service like LatitudePay is a great option for secure payments, while many credit card providers can offer that little bit of protection if something goes wrong too.

4. Know the returns policy

One of the great things about online shopping is that most retailers offer free returns. But do you know what to do if your package never arrives? As boring as it is, it pays to read the fine print.

5. Check the reviews

Smart retailers know the power of a great review, with many actually building customer testimonials into their online store. Talk about Five Star piece of mind!

6. Choose contactless delivery

Yes, we know there’s a certain joy in greeting your delivery driver but we need to keep up the social distancing so everyone is safe. Most retailers have a contactless option at check-out and if your online purchase is delivered by Australia Post, your driver won’t require a signature for delivery but you’ll need to be present so they can check-off the delivery.

COVID-19 Assistance
We understand that COVID-19 is having an impact on our community and that it could affect your financial wellbeing. That’s why we have put together a plan to help our customers.
To find out how we can help you, click here.

1Kantar COVID-19 barometer 23rd-28th April 2020 interview research.